A Danish frigate has killed four pirates in waters south of Nigeria in an operation to protect shipping in the Gulf of Guinea, a Reuters report says.
The Esbern Snare, deployed last month to the Gulf of Guinea amid heightened security risks from pirates, on Wednesday spotted a fast-moving vessel carrying eight suspected pirates near a number of commercial ships, the Danish military said on Thursday.
The incident took place in international waters,25 to 30 nautical miles south of Nigeria’s territorial boundary.
The motorboat, spotted by a helicopter deployed by the frigate, was carrying equipment associated with piracy, including ladders.
After the frigate fired warning shots, the pirates opened fire on Danish navy special forces, who in turn shot and killed four pirates and wounded one, the Danish military statement said.
The remaining four pirates were taken on board the frigate, and no Danish personnel were hurt in the incident.
A spokesman for the military said it was the first time the warship had opened fire during its current mission to the Gulf of Guinea.
The Gulf of Guinea has been a piracy hot spot for years, but incidents have decreased since national governments stepped up security efforts aided by foreign naval ships.
American, British, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese navies have also sent assistance, ships or training forces over the past year to tackle piracy after a record 130 sailors were taken from vessels in the region in 2020.
In the first nine months of 2021, piracy and armed robbery incidents dropped to 28, compared with 46 in the same period in 2020, according to the International Maritime Bureau.