After providing assistance to chemical tanker MV Royal Grace, EU Naval Force (EU Navfor)¬† flagship and Spanish warship ESPS M√©ndez N√∫nez, which is conducting EU counter-piracy patrols off the Somali coast, provided protection, to super tanker MV Smyrni, after the vessel was released from Somali pirate control. It is headed towards Salalah.
MV Smyrni, with a crew of 26, was carrying 135,000 tonnes of crude oil when she was hijacked on May 11, 2012. The ship is said to have been released on Sunday for a ransom.
After being informed of the release ESPS M√©ndez N√∫nez was tasked to closely monitor MV Smyrni as she moved away from the pirate anchorage.
EU Navfor‚Äôs German and Spanish P-3 maritime patrol aircraft also provided reconnaissance support. On Monday morning, a private security team was tasked by the ship‚Äôs owner to protect the vessel as she proceeded north to Salalah.
Speaking about the assistance given to MV Smyrni, Rear Admiral Pedro Garc√≠a de Paredes, who is the force commander of the EU counter-piracy task force said, ‚ÄúI am relieved that MV Smyrni has been released. Her crew is now safe and will shortly be reunited with their families. We must remember that two ships are still being held by pirates and 60 men are still being held hostage.
‚ÄúThe pirates‚Äô business model is fractured, but it is not broken. The threat remains.‚Äù