Private Guards Kill Somali Pirate for First Time
Encounters at sea grow more violent as ships fight back
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 24, 2010 6:49 AM CDT
In this file photo issued by EU NAVFOR on Friday March 5, 2010 shows the EU NAVFOR French warship FS Nivose with Somali pirate skiffs off the Somali coast on Friday March 5, 2010.    (AP Photo/EU NAVFOR)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – Private security guards shot and killed a Somali pirate yesterday during an attack on a merchant ship off the coast of East Africa in what is believed to be the first such killing by armed contractors. The guards were onboard the MV Almezaan when a pirate group approached it twice, said an EU Naval Force spokesman; during the second approach on the Panamanian-flagged cargo ship, which is United Arab Emirates owned, there was an exchange of fire between the guards and the pirates.

An EU Naval Force frigate was dispatched to the scene and launched a helicopter that located the pirates. Seven pirates were found, including one who had died from small caliber gunshot wounds, indicating he had been shot by the contractors. The six remaining pirates were taken into custody. Crews are becoming increasingly adept at repelling attacks by pirates in the dangerous waters of the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden. But pirates are becoming more aggressive in response, shooting bullets and rocket-propelled grenades at ships to try to intimidate captains into stopping.