DUBAI – U.S. Marines boarded and seized a commercial German vessel in the Gulf of Aden that had been attacked and boarded by pirates a day earlier, the U.S. Fifth Fleet said in a statement on Thursday.
A group of 24 marines, operating within a 25-nation coalition to combat piracy along the east cost of Africa, took control of the ship, Magellan Star, from nine pirates.
No casualties or injuries were reported.
Hijackings off the coast of Somalia have earned pirates tens of millions of dollars in ransoms, raised shipping insurance premiums and forced ships to take longer, costlier routes to dodge pirate hot spots.
Control of the ship has been returned to the civilian mariners, the Navy said.
In June, Somali pirates freed a British-flagged ship which had 25 crew, including eight Bulgarian sailors, after a ransom was paid. At least 17 ships are being held by pirates. In the latest seizure on September 8, a Maltese-flagged merchant vessel was attacked and hijacked inside the internationally recommended transit corridor in the Gulf of Aden.
After pirates seized the German vessel on Wednesday, the crew managed to seal themselves in a safe compartment, said Lt Jeremy Olver of Combined Maritime Forces Public Affairs.
The Marines were operating under a group called Combined Task Force 151 (CTF-151), is one of three task forces with a mandate to “deter, disrupt, and suppress piracy” in the region.