December 16, 2012
Somali Maritime Police Force operators were involved in a shoot-out with pirates who had hijacked the MV Iceberg 1 when authorities attempted a rescue.
The Iceberg was first captured by pirates in March 2010. The pirates had been attempting to ransom the hostages for over two years, keeping them separately at different locations. Security agencies in the northeastern province of Puntland received intelligence that the crew had been returned to the ship and decided to act.
The Puntland Maritime Police Force (PMPF) forces seized their opportunity on December 10th, an encountered heavy resistance from the pirates. Pirates attempted to reinforce the ship the next morning, and a group bringing weapons and ammunition and initiated an attack on the PMPF. Three pirates were killed and another three were captured in the firefight. PMPF officials were able to seize 5 AK-47’s, 1 PKM machine-gun and thousands of rounds of ammunition.
In the nearly 3-year stand off, four Somali soldiers have been wounded in action. Since the vessel was first hijacked, several of the crew members have been killed and their bodies mutilated. Others have also been tortured. The rescue operation efforts will continue.