On 19 February, HNLMS De Ruyter, has stopped the activities of a group of suspected pirates approximately 120 nautical miles east of Eyl off the coast of Somalia. Nine suspected pirates were apprehended and taken on board of the De Ruyter.
The Dutch frigate that is deployed with the European Union Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Somalia ‚Äì Operation Atalanta, was tasked this morning to find a suspected pirate group that was reported by a Panama flagged merchant vessel off the coast of Somalia. The helicopter of De Ruyter located two high powered skiffs. As the helicopter approached, material was thrown overboard and the two skiffs split up in an attempt to escape. The first skiff was stopped by assets of the Dutch frigate. The second skiff was located and stopped with support of the helicopter from the EU Naval Force flagship ESPS Mendez Nunez.
The nine suspected pirates are being held on board HNLMS De Ruyter for further investigation and evidence collection in order to fully assess the possibility of prosecution. The two attack skiffs were seized.