Italian Warship Liberates Iranians From Somali Pirates
The ITS Scirocco, one of five NATO warships operating in the waters around the Horn of Africa as part of the organisations counter piracy mission, Operation Ocean Shield, have succeeded in freeing a small Iranian cargo ship, the SAAD 1, along with its nineteen strong crew. The vessel had been seized by pirates five months ago and was being used as a "mother-ship" to small pirate attack skiffs.
The SAAD 1, with its crew under the control of pirates, was intercepted by the ITS Scirocco and chased onto the Somali coast on the 17th of March where the erstwhile captors promptly fled seizing their opportunity, the crew of the SAAD 1 rapidly sailed with the Italian frigate providing protection. The Scirocco then helped conduct repairs and provided fuel and victuals to allow the Iranian ship to begin its long-awaited journey home.
The Commanding Officer of ITS Scirocco, Commander Massimiliano Giachino said: ?The success of this operation demonstrates the professionalism and determination of the crew of Scirocco in combating piracy. SAAD 1 is now free and we have provided assistance to the crew to ensure their safe return home.?
NATO Force Commander, Commodore Steve Chick, RN, stated that the action sent: ??a very strong message to the pirates that NATO and other counter piracy forces are willing to do what is necessary to stop piracy ? even if it means tackling the pirates in the vicinity of the pirate camps.?