Four suspects killed in failed pirate attack in Gulf of Guinea

The Royal Danish Navy frigate HDMS Esbern Snare (Photo: Danish Armed Forces/Anders Fridberg)

The Danish Ministry of Defence reports that a Royal Danish Navy ship successfully thwarted an attempt by pirates to harass merchant vessels in the Gulf of Guinea off Nigeria’s southern coast.

On Wednesday, November 24, the crew of the frigate HDMS Esbern Snare responded to reports of an increased risk of piracy in the gulf.

The ship set in the direction of the incident and sent its embarked MH-60 Seahawk helicopter in advance to observe.

The crew of the helicopter arrived in the area and soon after sighted a fast-moving skiff with eight suspicious men on board. The helicopter crew also saw a number of  tools associated with piracy, including ladders.

Later in the evening, Esbern Snare manoeuvred close enough to send Danish frogmen off in fast-moving rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) to board the suspect skiff.

The frigate’s crew called the pirates to bring them to a halt so that the frogmen could get on board. When the pirates did not react, the Danish forces fired warning shots.

The pirates then opened fire directly on the Danish troops. The frogmen then reacted in self-defence and responded to the fire from the pirates.

Four pirates were killed while a fifth was injured in the ensuing firefight. The Danish frogmen suffered no injuries.

The pirates’ skiff sank shortly after the firefight. The eight surviving pirates were then taken aboard the frigate and the sole wounded suspect was treated for his injuries.

The defence ministry said an inter-ministerial working group will determine the next course of action regarding the pirates, who are still in custody on board Esbern Snare.

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