EU Says Tiny Dinghy Blown Up Was Whaling Vessel

Story By:  Martina Salas, Sub-Editor: Joseph GolderAgency: Central European News

This is the moment the EU claims victory in the fight against pirates by blowing up a tiny vessel suspected of being a whaling ship.

It was destroyed by a Spanish naval ship after officers had first of all boarded it to make sure no one was on board – with the subsequent explosion recorded on camera as part of the EU’s naval mission known as ‘Operation Atalanta’.

Formally the ‘European Union Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Somalia’, Operation Atalanta is a counter-piracy operation at sea.

It is an EU naval mission being conducted off the Horn of Africa and in the Western Indian Ocean.

In the footage, the helicopter of the Spanish naval vessel ‘Castilla’ films the moment the pirate boat is blown up just off the coast of Somalia.

According to a press statement from the Spanish Ministry of Defence and EU NAVFOR, it was a small whaling boat that had engaged in piracy and it was checked over to make sure no one was inside.

When everything was in order, the vessel was towed to a safe place and blown up the next day.

A statement said that the boat was known to crew members on board the ‘Castilla’ for some time and that it has been used in various pirate activities.

Operation Atalanta was launched in December 2008 to deter pirate activities off the coast of Somalia and bring stability and democracy to the East African country.

The operation is also in charge of guarding boats belonging to the United Nations (UN) World Food Programme as well as protecting fishing activities.