Navy sailors tangle with suspected pirates - Soundings Online

Navy sailors tangle with suspected pirates

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One person was killed and five were wounded when two U.S. Navy vessels returned fire on a group of suspected pirates in the Indian Ocean about 25 miles off eastern Somalia.

One person was killed and five were wounded when two U.S. Navy vessels returned fire on a group of suspected pirates in the Indian Ocean about 25 miles off eastern Somalia.

The crews of the cruiser USS Cape St. George and USS Gonzalez, a destroyer, were conducting maritime security operations March 18 when they came upon a vessel towing two smaller skiffs heading west toward shore, the Navy reports. When the crew of Gonzalez attempted to board the suspect vessel they noticed the passengers were carrying what appeared to be rocket-propelled grenade launchers. The suspected pirates opened fire on the two Navy ships.

In response the crews of Cape St. George and Gonzalez returned fire, the Navy reports. One suspected pirate died in the engagement and a fire broke out on the main vessel. Twelve suspects, including five who were injured, were taken into custody. Navy personnel provided medical treatment for the wounded prisoners.

In addition to a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, Navy crews confiscated a number of automatic weapons, the Navy says. No U.S. crewmembers were reported wounded in the incident.