On receiving an emergency radio call from the Merchant Vessel BBC Portugal on September 20, HMAS Toowoomba started chasing the suspect vessel 50 miles off the coast of Yemen in the Gulf of Aden. A coalition P3 Orion maritime surveillance aircraft and a helicopter from another coalition warship also joined the operation. As the helicopter crew confirmed sighting of weapons in the suspect vessel, HMAS Toowoomba boarded the suspect vessel to investigate, search, disarm and seize.
During the search, HMAS Toowoomba found weapons (photo on the right) including a Rocket Propelled Grenade launcher (RPG), six AK47 Assault Rifles, a G3 Assault Rifle and a large quantity of ammunition. Though the crew of the vessel from Somalia denied their intention to attack nearby merchant vessels or planning piracy activities, weapons seized from the vessel indicate that they were not engaged in fishing. The crew were freed after disarming.
HMAS Toowoomba continues her mission to deter, warn, intercept, disarm vessels suspected to be involved in acts of piracy off Somalia.
Here is the photograph of HMAS Toowoomba’s boarding operation.
View a video clip: HMAS Toowoomba disarms pirate threat
Read more from DOD, Australia.
All the above photographs are from DOD, Australia.
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