Liquid VelvetAn attempt by Somali pirates to sail a hijacked tanker into the Gulf of Aden where she would act as a mother ship for attacks on merchant ships was foiled by a Royal Navy supply ship.

The Greek-owned chemical tanker Liquid Velvet, 11,559dwt, which had been held to ransom since last November, had sailed 90 miles from the coastline when, on Jan 10, she was intercepted by the RFA stores ship Fort Victoria, carrying a Royal Navy force protection team.

The Fort Victoria repeatedly circled the tanker to force her back to Somalia and also sent up her Lynx helicopter as both a deterrent and to assess the situation on board.

Once the Liquid Velvet had returned to her anchorage, the Fort Victoria stayed in the area to ensure the pirates, who were armed with machine guns and rifles, did not make another attempt to sail out.

On Jan 13, Captain Gerry Northwood, Royal Navy, commander of the UK’s Counter-Piracy Task Force, said: “Once the pirates were stopped, there was never a chance that they were going to achieve anything as we could take down any efforts they made.”

More on this and other news in Sea Breezes Magazine - March 2012 Issue
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