The Seychelles has taken full advantage of training and new equipment provided by friendly members of the naval coalition in boosting their Coast Guard’s capabilities. This came back to pay when last night the Topaz ship was dispatched following a distress call by a local fishing vessel, which was attacked by ocean terrorists using a previously-hijacked Iranian dhow.
The intelligence provided by unmanned aerial vehicles, aka drones, and other surveillance by the naval coalition fleet, proved important as the Coast Guard vessel then managed to catch up with the hijacked ships. Once it became clear that the ocean terrorists were not complying with orders to stop and be boarded, the Seychelles President James Michel then gave orders to prevent the ships reaching Somali waters at all costs.
Although being fired upon first with rocket-propelled grenades by the terrorists, the Topaz evaded the incoming fire and then engaged the pirate dhow in turn. Subsequently, the dhow was fired upon, the engine disabled, and the crew and terrorists captured after they had jumped overboard from the burning vessel.
The Iranian captives and the Seychellois crew were all rescued, with one of the Iranians reportedly injured by a gunshot allegedly fired by a Somali ocean terrorist.
All the Somalis were captured and will be brought to court in Victoria upon returning to Mahe tomorrow, where they will then face charges of terrorism and piracy.
The determined action by the Seychelles coast guard was hailed as a success by the naval coalition and the Seychellois government, but more important, served as clear notice to the ocean terrorists that from now on, when trying to approach or enter Seychellois waters, they will be decisively engaged according to this new more robust rule of engagement and should be aware that force may be used to capture them.
It was later also learned that enroute back to Mahe the Topaz was approached by another pirate mothership and two skiffs and again came under fire. The Topaz responded in kind, apparently sunk the mothership and one skiff, and then decided to return directly to port to first safely return the rescued crew from the earlier incident and hand over the captured ocean terrorists into the legal system of the Seychelles.
Another Seychelles Coast Guard vessel, it is understood, is en route to the area where the Topaz was being shot at to ascertain if there were any survivors following the engagement at sea.
Undoubtedly, the pirates are finally meeting their match at sea and this robust response is also serving added notice to other wannabe pirates to stay away from Seychellois waters or else face the same fate.