Pirates last night attacked the Somme, the 157.2 metre long flagship of the French Indian Ocean naval force, mistaking it for a merchant ship.
The Somme photo credit: French navy
Admiral Christophe Prazuck, spokesman for the French armed forces chief of staff, said “the attack occured at about 1:00 a.m. local time some 250 nautical miles (460 kms) off the Somali coast while the Somme was sailing towards the ships of the Atalanta [European anti-piracy force] to refuel them.” He said “the pirates, mistaking the French military ship for a merchant ship in the dark, were on two boats and opened fire with Kalashnikovs.”
Doubtless surprised at the vigor of the responding fire they did a quick about turn but were chased by the French sailors. One of the two skiffs with five people aboard was stopped by the military but they found nothing aboard: no weapons, no food or drink as it was all thrown overboard. The second skiff got away. The five suspects are now aboard the Somme.