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Aircraft assigned to two multinational anti-terrorism task forces helped stop attempted attacks on a sailing yacht and a merchant vessel in international waters off Yemen recently, according to a Navy press release.

According to the release, the sailing vessel Lili Marleen radioed for assistance after it was fired on by one of two small suspected pirate boats that had been following it during its transit between Egypt and Oman.

The Lili Marleen attempted to run from the pirates while its crew set out firehoses on its deck. The hoses were to be used to deter a boarding attempt from 10 suspected pirates on the two boats.

When the French Atlantique aircraft arrived on the scene a short time later, the pirates had changed course and were heading toward another nearby vessel, the merchant Panormos Pride.

The Atlantique circled the two small boats, which then again changed course, this time away from the two vessels.

About 20 minutes after its arrival, the Atlantique was joined by a helicopter from the German frigate Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Shortly after the helicopter’s arrival, the small boats turned and headed toward the Somali coast. The two aircraft remained in the area for about an hour.

Modern-day pirates are known to work in the area, attempting to stop and board other ships for their cargo.

The Atlantique is part of Task Force 57 and the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is part of Combined Task Force 150. Both operate under the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, conducting anti-terror missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden and the Horn of Africa.


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