Royal Navy warship raids Somali pirate vessels

Piracy
HMS Westminster's Merlin 502 fires upon a pirates boat in the Indian Ocean. Photo: MOD Crown Copyright/PA Wire

A Royal Navy frigate has undertaken three counter-piracy operations during a seven-month deployment in the Indian Ocean.

Piracy
HMS Westminster's Merlin 502 firing at the pirate skiff. Credit: MOD Crown Copyright/PA Wire
Piracy
HMS Westminster's Merlin 502 firing at a boat in the Indian Ocean. Credit: MOD Crown Copyright/PA Wire

Portsmouth-based HMS Westminster raided vessels which had been used by pirates in hijacking attempts on ships travelling through the area.

Piracy
HMS Westminster on patrol. Credit: MOD Crown Copyright/PA Wire

The early morning operations involved the warship's boarding teams being supported by a Merlin helicopter as they targeted the vessels, detained suspects and destroyed equipment.

Piracy
HMS Westminster's Royal Marine Boarding Team away in the Starboard sea boat. Credit: MOD Crown Copyright/PA Wire
Piracy
HMS Westminster RM/RN Boarding Teams, begin to board a pirate vessel containing 12 suspected pirates. Credit: MOD Crown Copyright/PA Wire

A navy spokesman said:

Using the Merlin's powerful sensors, on each occasion we found the suspected pirates and identified weapons, excessive fuel, ladders and more people than you would expect to find for any other purpose in small boats, hundreds of miles from land in the middle of the Indian Ocean.

Faced with an overwhelming display of force, the suspected pirates immediately surrendered.