Louise-Marie in action against pirates

For the first time since its arrival in the Gulf of Aden the Belgian frigate Louise-Marie has thwarted a pirate ship in the waters off the coast of Somalia. The emergency call came from a commercial ship.

A Belgian helicopter was also involved in the operation. The pirates were using a small boat. It is not yet clear whether arrests were made.

The Louise-Marie left the Port of Zeebruges for East Africa on August 17. It arrived in the Gulf of Aden the beginning of September. The Belgian frigate is helping to patrol the Horn of Africa until 13 December.

The Belgian frigate is one of dozens of ships involved in a European operation against piracy. It patrols waters between the Gulf of Aden and the Seychelles. It is part of the EU operation Atalanta to stop piracy off the Somali coast.

The Louise-Marie, under the command of Jan De Beurme and with a crew of 145 people, will return to Belgium on time for Christmas.

EU Operation Atalanta

Operation Atalanta is a campaign of the European Union to stop the piracy off the Somali coast. The aim of Atalanta is to contribute to:

  • the protection of vessels of the WFP (World Food Programme) delivering food aid to displaced persons in Somalia;
  • the protection of vessels cruising off the Somali coast;
  • the deterrence, prevention and repression of acts of piracy and armed robbery off the Somali coast.

The joint naval patrol includes vessels from Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Greece, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden.

This operation, which is the first EU maritime operation, is conducted in the framework of the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP).