Ship Rescued by U.A.E. Forces Returns with 10 Pirates

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- A pirated cargo ship retaken by Emirati forces backed by the United States has arrived in Abu Dhabi with the crew and 10 captured pirates on board, according to UAE state media.
The Emirates-owned MV Arrilah-1 came under attack in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Oman at dawn Friday. Emirati special forces, with support from the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, launched a mission to rescue the vessel while crew members kept safe by locking themselves in a secure room during the hijacking.
It docked in the Emirati capital's Port Zayed on Tuesday, according to state news agency WAM.
"The operation was carried out in a very professional manner. It was quick, accurate and decisive with no causalities or damage to property," Lt. Col. Abdullah al-Dhaheri of the UAE Armed Forces told the state news agency.
The pirates were handed over to the Gulf Arab nation's Interior Ministry pending trial, WAM reported. A ministry spokesman reached by The Associated Press declined to comment on the case.
Three U.S. warships, including the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, were in the vicinity and aided Emirati forces in the rescue, said Cmdr. Amy Derrick-Frost, a spokeswoman for the 5th Fleet. They provided logistical and aerial support as well as security personnel for the mission, she said.
"We had helicopters providing overflight coverage for the UAE team while they were aboard," she said.
The 5th Fleet is based in the Gulf nation of Bahrain and plays an active role in efforts to fight piracy emanating from Somalia.
Derrick-Frost was unable to say how many U.S. personnel boarded the pirated ship alongside their Emirati counterparts, but described the U.S. forces as a "small number," likely less than 10.
None of the pirates was detained on U.S. warships, Derrick-Frost said.
The Arrilah-1 is a new 37,000-ton bulk carrier owned by the state-run Abu Dhabi National Tanker Co. (ADNATCO), which took delivery of the ship in January. WAM said it flies under a UAE flag, though it is listed in several shipping registries as operating under a Liberian flag.
ADNATCO couldn't be reached for comment. The company's general manager, Ali Obaid al-Yabhouni, told WAM the crew was in good health and high spirits when they arrived.
The National, a government owned daily, said the ship had 21 crew aboard.
Poland's foreign minister, Radek Sikorski, spoke to the ship's Polish captain after the rescue Monday. He told reporters the captain, whom he did not name, said one crew member was injured during the attack.
"When the pirates seized the ship, the crew hid in a special gym room which served as a kind of a fortress for over half a day. The pirates could not force their way into it, even though they were using grenade launchers," Sikorski told a news briefing.
Sikorski thanked the UAE for rescuing the vessel, telling reporters he hopes the pirates "face a tough sentence."


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