On February 19th, a Royal Netherlands Navy Frigate, the HNLMS De Ruyter successfully captured a group of pirates.
The group of nine suspected pirates was apprehended by the ship approximately 120 nautical miles off the town of Eyl on the coast of of Somalia. Eyl continues to be a hotbed for piracy, causing a recent detachment of regional Puntland Maritime Police to be permanently assigned to the town.
The Dutch frigate is part of the European Union Naval Force (EUNAVFOR) that is currently stationed in the Indian Ocean conducting Operation Atalanta, the purpose of which is to secure the vital, but pirate-infested shipping lanes.
The ship was in the area after a merchant vessel reported a pirate sighting off the coast that morning. After a patrolling helicopter spotted two small skiffs, which jettisoned material and attempted to escape. One of the skiff was stopped by teams from the De Ruyter, and the other skiff was located by a helicopter from the EUNAVOR flagship, ESPS Mendez Nunez.
Both boats were seized, and the pirates are currently in detention aboard the De Ruyter. For now, they remain suspected pirates and further investigation is necessary, in order to find evidence worth of prosecution.