The Navy's 5th Fleet, which operates under U.S. Central Command, released a statement today about Somali pirates' firing on a Navy helicopter:
Yesterday, at approximately 8:00 a.m. local time, Somali Pirates aboard Motor Vessel (M/V) Win Far, fired what appeared to be a large caliber weapon at a U.S. Navy SH-60B Helicopter from Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 49, embarked aboard USS Chancellorsville (CG 62). No rounds of ammunition struck the SH-60B. The SH-60 crew did not return fire. No personnel injuries resulted from the incident.
CBS News reports it was the "first time pirates have shot at U.S. Navy helicopters conducting daily surveillance flights over areas where pirates anchor hijacked vessels and await ransom."
Video of the incident is online.
More than 30 crewmembers remain as hostages aboard the pirated vessel M/V Win Far.
According to a bulletin issued yesterday by the Office of Naval Intelligence, pirate activity is set to increase near Somalia as monsoon season nears its end.
Piracy attacks around the globe more than doubled to 240 from 114 during the first six months of 2009, compared with the same period in 2008, according to ICC International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Centre (IMB), which says most of the attacks are against vessels supporting the oil industry .
The trend comes as no surprise to readers of Inside the Navy, which reported a decade ago then-Coast Guard Commandant Adm. James Loy's prediction that all maritime nations would face common security concerns.
"Piracy appears to be a growth industry worldwide,” he warned.