Turkish frigate captures 5 Somali pirates

Turkish frigate captures 5 Somali pirates

July 24, 2009, Friday/ 17:17:00
The Turkish navy frigate TCG Gediz has launched an operation against Somali pirates, who were feared to be preparing to seize another ship off the coast of Somalia, capturing five of the pirates.

In a weekly press conference yesterday, Metin Gürak, chief of the communications department of the General Staff, stated that the Gediz rendered the band of Somali pirates ineffective as a result of the operation. “Five pirates were captured after our frigate was informed about their preparations to seize another ship off the Somali coast. Our frigate was assisted by a helicopter from the TCG Gaziantep,” stated Gürak.

A Turkish ship was seized last week by Somali pirates with 23 crew members aboard. Pirates are still in negotiations with the ship owners over ransom. Aysun Akbay, a female captain, was also among crew members.

Akbay, 24, has been working for the company that owns the Horizon I for two months and had been assigned as the fourth officer on the hijacked ship.

The TCG Gediz last month set sail from Turkey to Somalia as part of a UN-led force to prevent pirates from hijacking foreign ships off the Somali coast and was the second Turkish ship sent to the region. The Gediz is in the region for a one-year mission and has been part of the Combined Task Force (CTF) 151, a multinational counter-piracy task force established in January with a specific mandate to counter piracy operations in and around the Gulf of Aden, the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea. Another Turkish frigate, the Giresun, was sent to the region in February on a four-month mission. As of May, Turkey has taken over the command of CTF-151, which is one of four international naval forces operating in the region.

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