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Case Study 1. MV Nisha - 21st Dec 2001


UK intelligence services became concerned over a cargo ship approaching the English coast. A tip off was received that the ship, the MV Nisha, may be carrying 'terrorist material' along with its stated cargo of sugar. This, combined with the fact that the freighter's route from Mauritius was preceded by a stop at Djibouti, close to suspected Al-Qaeda havens of Somalia and Yemen, caused an unprecedented security operation to be launched.


A task force consisting of SBS and SAS operators, bomb disposal experts and anti-terrorist police officers was assembled at RNAS Yeovilton in Somerset. A detailed plan was drawn up to deal with the threat from the MV Nisha. Not long after first light, the plan was put into operation. At 5:30am, The Royal Navy Type 23 Frigate, HMS Sutherland, intercepted the MV Nisha off the Sussex coast. Above them, an armada of helicopters swarmed around the cargo ship. Lynx AH7 helicopters, carrying SBS/SAS snipers provided cover as 2 Chinooks from RAF 7 Squadron manoeuvred into position above the ships' superstructure. Using well-practiced maritime counter terrorism techniques, the assault teams fast-roped down onto the MV Nisha, swiftly securing the bridge and radio room, 


Source: Wikipedia, BBC News

Case Study 2. MV Taipan-5th April 2010


A group of 10 pirates successfully boarded and hijacked the German-flagged and owned MV Taipan 500 nautical miles (930 km) off the coast of Somalia on 5 April 2010 from two attack skiffs.  The crew of 13 was able to lock themselves in a secure location after shutting down the engines and immobilising the ship. They then contacted international naval forces in the area. The Dutch warship HNLMS Tromp was sent immediately to the scene. Aerial reconnaissance showed that pirates were indeed on board the merchant ship, and showed their two skiffs in tow behind it.


As the Tromp approached, its sailors spotted a pirate mothership heading towards the Taipan, probably to bring in reinforcements. After a radio warning received no response, the Tromp fired several warning shots at the mothership, which then turned around and fled the scene. All attempts at negotiation failed, and when it became clear that the pirates intended on resisting, it was decided to free the ship by force.  Dutch Marines from the Unit Intervention Mariners rappelled down from the Tromp‍ ' s helicopter onto containers on the ship's deck under the cover of machine gun fire from the helicopter. The Marines initially fired on the pirates, then stormed the pirate-held areas. All 10 Somali pirates quickly surrendered, and were taken into custody, and all of the hostages were freed safely. 


Source: Wikipedia

Case Study 3. MT Moscow University
5-6th May 2010


The Russian tanker MV Moscow University was attacked on 5 May 2010 by Somali pirates 500 nautical miles (930 km) off the coast of Somalia. The ship fired water canons and flare pistols at the pirates, and attempted to outmanoeuvre them, but its constant manoeuvres forced it to a speed of nine knots after one hour, after which the pirates attached an assault ladder and began boarding.  The captain then ordered that all food and water be hidden in the steering compartment, and activated the ship's distress beacon, after which he and the crew barricaded themselves in the engine room, where they repulsed two attempts by the pirates to force their way in. The pirates would hold the ship for 20 hours.


Australian Orion aircraft responded to the MV Moscow University distress signal on the 5 May, and was able to locate the tank laying dead in the water with three small skiffs alongside — indicating a Somali pirate hijacking. Communications were established between the ship's captain and the Orion aircraft which then relayed communications to the Russian Destroyer Marshal Shaposhnikov


The Marshal Shaposhnikov came to the aid of the Moscow vessel, and sent out a helicopter ahead of it to provide reconnaissance. It took the destroyer half a day to reach the Moscow University. Rather than fleeing after their failure to take hostages and thus losing the option of using human shields to deter a rescue, the pirates stayed on the vessel as the Marshal Shaposhnikov closed on their position. The pirates fired at the reconnaissance helicopter, and the helicopter returned fire, killing one pirate. The captain confirmed to the Russian forces by radio that the crew were safe. Two warning shots were fired at the pirates, who then claimed that they had hostages. The Marshal Shaposhnikov then opened fire on the Moscow University. Under the cover of this fire, speedboats carrying Naval Infantry then approached the ship, and the troops climbed on board. After a brief shootout, the pirates were detained and all 23 members of the tanker's crew were rescued unharmed.  After the pirates had been disarmed and had their ladders and boats seized, they were set adrift in an inflatable boat after being provided with food and water but with no navigation equipment, some 300 nautical miles (560 km) off Somalia. According to the Russian MoD they did not reach the coast and likely died at sea.[3]


Source: Wikipedia, BBC News

Maritime Interdiction Case Studies.


Modern Maritime Interdiction Operations information is generally classified other than national media coverage so limited planning and conduct facts are available to produce a detailed study. 

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