Nigeria: Danish Naval Forces Kill Four Suspected Pirates Off Nigeria's Waters

Abuja — A Danish naval patrol has killed four pirates in an exchange of fire in the Gulf of Guinea, off the coast of Nigeria, Denmark’s armed forces said yesterday.
The incident occurred on Wednesday when the Frigate Esbern Snare, which has been patrolling the area since early November, attempted to board the pirate boat, AFP reported.
“No Danish soldiers were injured, but five pirates were shot. Four of the pirates died. One was injured,” the military said.
The authorities in Denmark stressed that the Danish forces fired warning shots, and the pirates immediately fired back. “The Danish soldiers acted in self-defence and returned fire,” the statement said.
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen told a news conference that the soldiers’ intervention had “probably prevented concrete pirate attacks against vessels in the region.”
Frederiksen, who had been scheduled to visit the Danish ship later yesterday during a visit to Ghana, said the Esbern Snare had “made an important and significant contribution to security in the Gulf of Guinea”.
The Head of the Federation of Danish shipowners, Anne Steffensen, praised the intervention, saying: “The presence of Danish soldiers is absolutely necessary and, even if this appears harsh, piracy has a price.”
After the shooting, the pirate ship sank and the eight pirates were brought aboard the frigate, where a seriously injured one of their number was treated, the statement added.
The Esbern Snare, Danish armed forces , were deployed last month to the Gulf of Guinea amid heightened security risks from pirates, said they had spotted a fast-moving vessel carrying eight suspected pirates near a number of commercial ships.
The incident took place in international waters, 25 to 30 nautical miles south of Nigeria’s territorial boundary, a spokesman noted, saying that the motorboat, spotted by a helicopter deployed by the frigate, was carrying equipment associated with piracy, including ladders.
It was the first time the frigate had opened fire during its current mission to the Gulf of Guinea, the spokesman said.
A piracy hotspot stretching 5,700 kilometres (3,540 miles) from Senegal to Angola, the Gulf of Guinea saw 195 attacks in 2020. The same year, 130 of 135 hostage takings at sea occurred in the region, according to the International Maritime Office.
The Danish helicopter-equipped frigate and its 175 sailors “are fulfilling an important task by protecting Danish and other commercial vessels in the region,” Defence Minister Trine Bramsen told news agency Ritzau.
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Copenhagen in March announced it was sending the vessel to patrol the zone, where some 40 Danish ships operate daily. The Danish Prime Minister, Frederiksen is currently in neighbouring Ghana and due to visit the Esbern Snare.
The Gulf of Guinea has been a piracy hot spot for years, but incidents have decreased since national authorities stepped up security efforts aided by foreign naval ships.
American, British, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese navies have also sent assistance, ships or training forces over the past year to tackle piracy after a record 130 sailors were taken from vessels in the region in 2020.
Piracy and armed robbery incidents dropped to 28 in the first nine months of 2021, compared with 46 in the same period in 2020, according to the International Maritime Bureau. The frigate will operate in the region until April next year.
Read the original article on This Day.
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