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  1. #1
    Gold Member Gold Member JS232's Avatar
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    Pirates kicked in the ...

    I love that story! What a happy ending...

    March 11, 2005, written by Rodney J. Nowlin, USN Retired
    Pirate Attack off Yemen Coast

    On Tuesday, March 8, 2005 at position 13 Degrees 28 North / 49 Degrees 07 East, in the infamous Pirate Alley of the Gulf of Aden, two sailing yachts, Madhi and Gandalf, were moving SW 30 miles off the coast of Yemen proceeding to the port of Aden from Salalah, Oman.

    At about 0900 local, two outboard powered fiberglass longboats, about 20 feet long, each containing 3 men, passed off our sterns moving south at about 25 knots into the open Gulf between Yemen and Somalia. An hour later they returned, one coming quite close and looking us over carefully. The second boat passed off our bows but quite a ways away. These boats were obviously not engaged in a normal activity like fishing. At that time we were south of Al Mukalla, Yemen. The area around Al Mukalla is well documented as being a piracy, drug & people smuggling problem area and we maintained a careful watch for anything out of the ordinary.

    At about 1600 we observed two different boats approaching us head on from the west with the glare of the sunset in our eyes. These were 25-30 feet long, had inboard diesel engines and higher freeboard. We immediately motored closer together. As soon as they saw us close ranks they started coming very fast directly at us. There were 4 men in each boat. They separated at about 200 yards with one boat coming down Madhi‚s port side, shouting and firing into the cockpit. The other boat, firing automatic weapons came at Gandalf. There were no warning shots. Carol on Gandalf began sending Maydays on every frequency.

    The first boat swung around behind Mahdi‚s stern to come up and board us. At that point, I , Rod Nowlin aboard Mahdi and armed with a 12 gauge shotgun loaded with 00 buckshot, started shooting into their boat. I forced them to keep their heads down so they could not shoot at us. I am not sure I hit anyone at that point. I could see the driver of the boat crouched down behind the steering console. After firing three shots at them, their engine started to smoke and I swung around to try to shoot at the second boat ahead. At that point I saw Jay Barry on Gandalf ram the second boat amidships almost cutting it in two and turning it almost completely over. I turned back around to shoot at the boat still behind Mahdi. That was when they turned away from Mahdi and headed toward the stern of Gandalf. Gandalf was beside us about 100 feet away. The bow of the pirate boat came right up against Gandalf‚s stern and two men stood up on the bow with guns to board Gandalf. That was a serious and probably fateful error on their part. I shot both of them. That boat then veered away and I shot the driver, although I am not sure of the outcome because they were farther away and I didn‚t knock him down like the other two trying to board Gandalf.

    Mahdi & Gandalf kept going at full speed to put as much distance between the pirates and us as possible. As soon as we were out of rifle range, we looked back and both attack boats were drifting and seemed to be disabled.

    A merchant ship nearby finally answered our Mayday and diverted course to position itself between the floundering pirates and the fleeing yachts. They said they would contact the authorities‚ by Sat phone and then sailed alongside us for 4 hours after dark to make sure we would be all right. Best speed was made to the Port of Aden 180 miles away.

    If Jay on Gandalf had not had the presence of mind to veer over into one boat and ram it, the outcome of this attack would have been totally different. All the guys needed to do was stand off a ways and shoot us to pieces with automatic weapons. We were extremely lucky. We broadcast Mayday calls on VHF 16 and all HF radio frequencies, including two HF frequencies that were supplied by the US Coast Guard near Oman only a few days before. Frequencies which the Coalition Forces Warships in this area were supposed to be monitoring. There was no response. The pirates were well organized and well armed. There were at least 4 boats involved. They had set up a picket line out from the Yemen coast probably covering 75 miles out, so if you transited the area during the day they would not miss seeing you. The two attack boats appeared to have come from the south before positioning themselves ahead of us in the sunset.

    There has been speculation in the past that this ongoing piracy problem off Yemen‚s coast was being carried out by Somali pirates. Given the number, the types of boats involved, and the direction the supposed spotter boats were coming from, this does not appear to be the case. The men in the attack boats looked both African and Arab.

    There was no evidence that this was a people smuggling operation. There were no men, women or children cowering in the boats. These were not fishing boats with nets or overhead sun protection. They appeared to be purpose-built boats, 25-30 feet long, with wooden splines or poles fashioned above the gunwales to which a plastic tarp or shield was hung chest high for the men to hide behind after shooting. The problem is getting worse and the pirate attacks are getting deadly. One could only expect that the Yemen Government will take more direct action At very least, allow yachts to group in Salalah, Oman and at some point along the NW Yemen coast request an escort until Aden or the Straits.

    Rodney J. Nowlin, USN Retire
    March 11, 2005
    [SIZE=4]Your eyes are bleeding? Blame it on my english teacher:[/SIZE]

  2. #2
    Registered Clay Washington's Avatar
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    Re: Pirates kicked in the ...

    If I ever have a boat large enough to sail in the Gulf of Mexico, I will make sure that I have a .50cal machine gun stowed below deck and a gun mount on deck. I would love to see some pirates come after me!

  3. #3
    Registered LostinBoston's Avatar
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    Re: Pirates kicked in the ...

  4. #4
    Registered satisfactionII's Avatar
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    Re: Pirates kicked in the ...

    Quote Originally Posted by JS232
    I love that story! What a happy ending...

    They appeared to be purpose-built boats, 25-30 feet long, with wooden splines or poles fashioned above the gunwales to which a plastic tarp or shield was hung chest high for the men to hide behind after shooting.
    Guess where I am aiming my AK. I would dearly love to splatter any number of these phucks.

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