The ships of Operation Atalanta provide assistance to the merchant ship Basilisk boarded by pirates

(To Marina Militare)

Last May 23, about 380 nautical miles east of the capital of Somalia, Mogadishu, the merchant ship basilisk she was attacked by suspected pirates while sailing north.

The attack occurred by a group of pirates who, to get closer, used a type of vessel Skiff, very fast and flexible for this type of approach to merchant ships.

Once the pirates boarded, the 17 crew members of the basilisk they retreated to the safety of the citadel, a room used to protect the crew from incursions from outside.

The citadel, not surprisingly, was located in a room from which it was possible to control the controls of the machines and the rudder and this prevented the merchant ship from being taken under the control of suspected pirates.

The crew was timely in raising the alarm to which the operation responded Atalanta, the European Union's anti-piracy naval force operating in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden, sending the closest asset to the location of the event.

Il force commander of Atalanta, Rear Admiral Francesco Saladino, from aboard the flagshig Ship Martinengo, led the intervention of the air and naval assets to free the merchantman flying the Liberian flag, also sending a team of special forces.

On the night between 23 and 24 May, the basilisk was made safe and assistance was provided to the crew members. One of them, injured, received medical treatment. The suspected pirates, having failed to force the citadel and not having been able to take over the management of the ship, had abandoned the merchant ship before the assets of Atalanta arrived on site.

The timeliness and promptness with which the operation was conducted demonstrate the importance of the operation Atalanta in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, significantly contributing to maritime security, freedom of navigation and effectively countering the growing phenomenon of piracy in the area.

The missions and joint operations involving assets and units of the Italian Armed Forces abroad, including those included in the operation Atalanta, are directed and coordinated, for national aspects, by the Joint Forces Top Operational Command (COVI).