‘Pirate ship’ sunk as 18 arrested

A suspected pirate ship has been sunk by the Finnish minelayer Pohjanmaa in international waters after 18 suspects were taken into custody in the Arabian Sea two weeks ago. The order to scuttle the ship on Saturday 9th April was given by the Operation Atlanta headquarters – the EU-led anti-piracy drive.

”We could not leave the vessel adrift, as it would have posed a threat to other seafarers,” said the Pohjanmaa’s captain, Commander Mika Raunu, in a Helsingin Sanomat report. He added that all potentially hazardous materials and evidence of crime were removed from the ship before it was wrecked.

A group of 18, which is believed to have attacked Singaporean tanker Pacific Opal on 5th April, are currently being kept onboard the Pohjanmaa. The group’s 30-metre ‘mother ship’ and its two smaller support vessels, which were allegedly used for the raids, have been taken into custody by the Finnish minelayer.

It will now be decided by the co-ordinators of the Atlanta Operation whether the suspects can be prosecuted. The EU naval campaign is currently patrolling the Horn of Africa in an attempt to protect the ships of the World Food Programme which is trying to deliver aid to Somalia.