Danish warship HDMS Absalon, who is part of NATO'S counter piracy operation in the Gulf of Aden rescued the cargo ship MV Ariella which came under attack by pirates, Feb. 5. The master of the Ariella had sent out a may-day call that pirates, armed with guns had boarded his ship and he needed urgent assistance. The crew had managed to lock themselves away in a safe room, enabling the NATO warship to send a team of specially trained forces to board the ship and regain control.
The Commander of the NATO Maritime HQ in Northwood, London, Admiral Sir Trevor Soar commented "Absalon's action today demonstrates NATO's resolve to deter and disrupt piracy off the Horn of Africa. Once NATO were absolutely sure that the crew onboard were safe, the decision was made to send in teams of trained specialists. I am also delighted with the ongoing co-ordination between our maritime partners, the EU Naval Force (EUNAVFOR) and Combined Maritime Force 151 (CMF151), together with maritime nations, such as the Russian and Indian navies who assisted in this successful operation."
At the same time as NATO ship Absalon boarded Ariella, sailors from the Russian Navy ship Neustrashimyy, operating nearby, successfully boarded and detained a second pirate skiff. NATO's counter-piracy mission is code-named Operation Ocean Shield. Commodore Rune (Royal Danish Navy) who is in charge of the NATO Task Force at sea in the Danish Flag ship Absalon, commented "NATO is making a significant contribution in the fight against piracy, but we recognize that there is still a lot of work to do."
Since the NATO mission started, there has been a 50% drop in piracy incidents in the Gulf of Aden.