Australian Department of Defence confirmed intercepting pirates off the Somalia Coast with the company aboard HMAS Melbourne.
"HMAS Melbourne is the 56th rotation to the Middle East Area of Operations since the 1991 Gulf War and the 32nd rotation since 2001. She is employed by the Combined Maritime Forces under the Tactical Control of CTF151 who is responsible for counter piracy operations within the Middle East Area of Operations.," according to ADF's official statement.
"Under the direction of Combined Task Force 151 (CTF151), HMAS Melbourne was appointed as on-scene commander for a multi-national search operation, involving ships and aircraft from the Combined Maritime Forces and European Union Naval Forces to locate and intercept the suspected pirates," as explained through the statement.
HMAS Melbourne was assisted by other CTF 151 assets to successfully locate the pirates' ships. With the highly trained team on HMAS Melbourne, the ship approached the board, searched the skiff and apprehended nine suspected Somali pirates. As per the Combined Maritime Forces direction, the pirates were boarded in HMAS Melbourne with the skiffs and other pirate apparatus destroyed.
Commander Brian Schlegel, Commanding Officerof HMAS Melbourne, acknowledged the team's capability and skill in handling the operation.
"Melbourne's success in disrupting piracy activity in the region re-affirms the importance of Australia's ongoing commitment to Combined Maritime Forces. Melbourne's Ship's Company have worked tirelessly to contribute to a successful outcome for both Combined Maritime Forces and for the wider Maritime Community," Mr Schlegel said.
HMAS Melbourne is currently sailing the suspected pirates back to Somalia, Australian Department of Defence said.
Meanwhile, Assistant for Defence Stuart Robert MP is calling all Australians to show their support to the Australian Defence Members deployed on overseas operations even during the Christmas Season.
"Christmas is traditionally a time of giving and selflessness and this Christmas I encourage all Australians to spare a thought for our Defence Personnel currently serving overseas and those who have returned home. The most effective way to show support is to send an email message to the troops at firstname.lastname@example.org. These messages are widely circulated and much appreciated by Defence members. Defence will continue to provide a system for the public to send care parcels to our deployed personnel for Christmas. However this year I encourage those looking to donate to consider making a lasting contribution to Defence personnel and their families by donating to the RSL, Legacy or 'Soldier On' rather than sending a parcel. Importantly, there will be no change to existing free postal arrangements for family and friends to send mail and parcels to their deployed loved ones and mates," Mr Robert stated.
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