US Navy Captures More Pirates, May Take Them to KenyaBy Al Pessin
Pentagon
12 February 2009

The U.S. Navy has captured nine more suspected pirates off the coast of Somalia, after they allegedly tried to board an Indian commercial ship. The same American ship took seven other men into custody Wednesday. 

Thursday's incident started when the USS Vella Gulf received a distress call from the Indian merchant ship, Premdivya. The ship said it had been fired on by men in a small boat, who were trying to board it. The crew of the Indian ship detached the ladders the attackers were using, stopping them temporarily. Meanwhile, the American warship dispatched a helicopter.

Pentagon Spokesman Bryan Whitman says the attackers fled, and ignored warnings to stop broadcast from the helicopter, so the crew fired two warning shots near the small boat. When it finally stopped, the Vella Gulf and another U.S. ship moved in and sent a boarding party to the pirates' boat, where they found weapons including a rocket-propelled grenade launcher.

Whitman says the men were taken into custody and will be transferred to another ship, the USS Lewis and Clark, for detention while the incident is investigated.

They are going to be remaining on Lewis and Clark until we have had an opportunity to collect the necessary evidence, evaluate it and make a decision regarding further transfer, he said.

The United States recently signed an agreement with Kenya for the prosecution of alleged pirates. That led U.S. Navy ships in the area to take a more aggressive approach, capturing and holding suspected pirates, rather than simply releasing them. Whitman says the 16 men now in U.S. custody will likely be the first to try the new system.

Once we have been able to satisfy our information needs, collect the necessary evidence that we have, we will be looking to turn these individuals over to appropriate legal authorities for them to address their activity, he said.

Whitman says this is also an opportunity to work out final details with Kenyan authorities for the transfer and detention of suspected pirates.

Pirates are currently holding several ships in the Gulf of Aden area, following a sharp increase in such hijackings last year. 

Last week, after receiving a ransom, pirates released a Ukrainian-flagged ship loaded with tanks and other military equipment after holding it for 19 weeks. The ship, with its freed crewmembers, has arrived in the Kenyan port of Mombassa.

In keeping with a U.N. Security Council resolution, the U.S. Navy has recently increased its patrols in the region, in an effort to deter the pirates, who come out of chaotic and poverty-stricken Somalia. Warships from several other nations are also patrolling in the area. 

美海军索马里海域抓获海盗嫌疑人

美国海军在索马里海域抓获了九名海盗嫌疑人,此前这些海盗嫌疑人被控企图登上一艘印度商船。美国海军同一艘舰艇星期三还扣押了另外七人。

星期四一艘遇险的印度商船来电向美国军舰“维拉湾”求援。这艘船说,一艘小船上的人向他们开火,并企图登上他们的商船。印度船员们切断了袭击者攀登的舷梯,暂时制止了他们的行动。与此同时,美国战舰派出了一架直升飞机。

五角大楼发言人怀特曼说,袭击者没有听从直升飞机要他们停止行动的广播警告,并开始逃离,因此机组人员向小船放了两枪,予以警告。小船最终停了下来,维拉湾号舰艇和其他美国军舰来到了现场,派人登上海盗船,在船上发现了武器,包括火箭推进手榴弹发射器。

怀特曼说,这些人被收押并将被送往“路易斯和克拉克号”军舰,在对该事件进行调查时调查期间对他们进行拘留。他说:“这些人将被拘留在路易斯和克拉克军舰上,直到我们有机会收集到了必要证据、加以评估并就他们的进一步移交作出决定。”

*试用新体制的第一批嫌疑人*

美国最近和肯尼亚就海盗嫌疑人的起诉问题签署了协议,这导致美国海军舰艇在这个区域可以采取更为大胆的行动,捉拿并扣押海盗嫌疑人,而不是简单地释放他们。怀特曼说,这16名美国扣押的嫌疑人将可能是第一批对其试用新体制的人。

他说:“一旦我们的信息需求得到满足,收集到我们掌握的必要证据,我们就会着手将这些人送给恰当的司法当局,让他们对自己的行动作出说明。”

怀特曼说,这也是一次机会让我们和肯尼亚当局就转交和拘留这些海盗嫌疑人作出最终的详细安排。

海盗目前在亚丁湾还劫持着几艘船只,这种船只劫持事件去年明显上升。

上个星期,海盗得到了一笔赎金以后释放了一艘被扣押了19个星期的满载坦克和军用装备的乌克兰船只。这艘船上的船员得到自由,已经将船停靠在肯尼亚港口蒙巴萨。

根据联合国安理会作出的决议案,美国海军最近已经增加了在该地区的巡逻,以便对海盗形成威慑力量,这些海匪都来自兵荒马乱又贫困交加的索马里。来自其他国家的一些战舰也在这个海域巡逻