Somali pirates may be terrorizing the waters off of East Africa, but maybe they should pick their targets a little more carefully and stop targeting European warships.
Earlier today, some Somali pirates got a little too greedy and attacked the Spanish warship serving as the flagship for the European Union’s fleet of ships carrying out a counter-piracy mission off of Somalia.
Needless to say, it wasn’t a fair fight.
At first light Thursday, the Spanish warship ESPS Patino had just completed escorting a ship carrying food aid into the Somali capital of Mogadishu. In addition to a counter-piracy effort, the EU’s main mission is to escort freighters carrying food from the World Food Programme.
That’s when a skiff carrying six pirates sped towards the warship and the pirates began to fire their light-caliber weapons at the ship in an attemp to board it.
The Patino’s crew immediately began to fire back in self-defense and launched the ship’s helicopter.
The pirates realized they were outgunned and broke away from the attack, but eventually surrendered to the helicopter. But only after first throwing their weapons, ladder and fuel barrels overboard.
Somali pirates often dump their weapons into the ocean in an attempt to avoid detention.
Five of the pirates were injured and two required medical treatment on board the Patino. The crew of the Spanish warship is also looking into the pirates’ claim that another pirate was lost overboard during the attack.
Taking on a warship might sound like a unique event but, amazingly, this isn’t the first time that Somali pirates have taken on a warship.
In October 2009, a group of pirates attempted to take on the French warship BCR Somme about 250 miles off the coast of Somalia.
They met a similar fate to the pirates involved in today’s incident and were detained after their unsuccessful attack.