ARABIAN SEA (Feb. 3, 2011) — An Australian AP-3C Orion aircraft assisted a merchant vessel under attack by pirates in the Arabian Sea, Jan. 28.
The Orion was conducting a routine surveillance patrol for the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) when it was re-tasked to investigate a pirate attack taking place on the MV New York Star.
“The Orion crews operate from a great height and are usually unseen elements of Australia’s overall contribution to maritime security in the Middle East region,” said Maj. Gen. Angus Campbell, Commander Joint Task Force 633. “On this occasion, the pirates knew they were being closely watched as the aircraft descended to a lower altitude.”
A NATO warship was tasked by CMF to assist the MV New York Star and deployed a boarding team. After securing the merchant vessel, the MV New York Star crew released themselves from the ship’s anti-piracy stronghold.
Vision taken from the AP-3C showed the pirates firing rocket propelled grenades at the MV New York Star during the attack on the vessel.
This incident comes only weeks after HMAS Melbourne came to the aid of the tanker MV CPO China, which was being boarded by pirates in the Arabian Sea.
“The efforts of HMAS Melbourne, which has now rotated with HMAS Stuart, and the AP-3C Orions, underpins Australia’s assistance to providing security to maritime trade transiting the Middle East area of operations,” said Maj. Gen. Campbell. “And these are by no means isolated efforts they’re doing this day in and day out throughout their deployments to the Middle East.”