US Navy, International
Forces Respond to Piracy Attack
From U.S. 5th
Fleet Public Affairs
USS Bunker Hill, At Sea -- -- May 6, 2011 – (NNS)
Guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) boarded a
suspected pirate vessel in cooperation with international forces while
responding to a distress call May 5.
The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Organization received a
distress call from the Panamanian-flagged merchant vessel Full City and passed
the information to U.S. 5th Fleet.
An Indian maritime patrol aircraft was able to locate the
vessel, and broadcast that warships were on the way. The crew had locked
themselves in a secure space from which they could control the ship, known as a
Bunker Hill and aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70)
were the closest naval vessels to the Full City and set course to intercept. The
Turkish ship Giresun, part of NATO's counter piracy operation Ocean Shield, also
While Giresun boarded Full City, Bunker Hill approached a
dhow in the area believed to be the 'mothership' for the pirate attack. An SH 60
Sea Hawk helicopter from Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light 49, deployed
with Bunker Hill, fired warning shots to stop the dhow and instructed the
suspected pirates to move to the bow of the vessel. In the early evening, a
visit board, search and seizure team from Bunker Hill boarded the suspected
The team found and destroyed paraphernalia on the dhow,
including weapons, excessive fuel and other equipment commonly used in the
commission of acts of piracy. They also sank a small skiff towed by the dhow;
these skiffs are often used for actual attacks and boardings by pirates.
"All hands should take pride in what they accomplished today.
Under ambiguous conditions, you responded very professionally, quickly and
successfully," said Capt. Dominic DeScisciolo, Bunker Hill's commanding officer.
Giresun found Full City's crew safe with no pirates on board
"This operation demonstrated that our presence here
successfully deters destabilizing activities and is effective in upholding
lawful maritime order. The versatility inherent to a carrier strike group
allowed for quick coordination with naval and Coast Guard assets from Turkey and
India to successfully prevent a pirate attack against the motor vessel Full
City," said Rear Adm. Samuel Perez, commander, Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group.
This story was updated May 7 to reflect that the Indian
maritime patrol aircraft was not in 2 way communication with the crew of the
Full City as had been previously reported.
Bunker Hill and Carl Vinson are on a routine deployment to
the U.S. 5th and 7th Fleet areas of operation.