USS Nicholas captures pirates off the coast of Africa

Pirate flag

Piracy is becoming an increasing problem in international waters. Image from the Cyber Law Center.

Early this morning in international waters just off the coast of the African state of Seychelles, the USS Nicholas exchanged fire with and captured a team of pirates. At 12:27 a.m., the USS Nicholas, a U.S. warship, started taking fire from a small skiff. The suspected pirates were attacking the ship in hopes of receiving emergency money. The USS Nicholas is currently holding the five suspected pirates.

USS Nicholas pirate attack

The USS Nicholas is a United States Navy warship, and it had been operating in international waters. Just west of Seychelles, the ship came under fire from three pirates in a small skiff. The USS Nicholas returned fire, at which point the skiff turned around. The USS Nicholas pursued the skiff, sank it, and captured the three suspected pirates. The USS Nicholas also captured the “mother ship” of the skiff, and two additional suspected pirates.

Seychelles pirate attack

The pirate attack on the USS Nicholas followed what has become the standard pirate plan of attack. A larger “mother ship” will go out to sea, then send out a small skiff with armed pirates. The pirates on the skiff will then attack and capture a ship and hold it until insurance or ransom money is received. Usually, pirates are paid the money and all parties go their separate ways.

International piracy on the rise

In the first half of 2009, the number of pirate attacks around the globe doubled, especially around the African continent. Piracy has also led to a boom in insurance policies and loan lenders, though there is now so much competition that the prices have begun to stabilize. The UN has also made statements about piracy, pointing out that it has a basis in the extreme poverty of many African nations.

Piracy in African Waters rises cost of shipping

Sources

Europa Newswire1
Reuters Africa2

  1. Europa Newswire
  2. Reuters Africa