, MANAMA, Apr 2 – A US warship intercepted suspected Somali pirates and sunk their "mother ship" after they attacked an oil tanker off the Seychelles, the US navy\’s Fifth Fleet said on Friday.
It said the Sierra Leone-flagged tanker MV Evita on Thursday "came under attack 500 kilometres (110 miles) northwest of the Seychelles by three suspected pirate skiffs."
"During the attack, the pirates fired rifles and aimed rocket-propelled grenades at the vessel in an attempt to force it to stop," but the MV Evita evaded the pirates, the navy said in a statement.
"The MV Evita was able to evade attack by adopting industry-recommended \’best management practices,\’ increasing its speed and firing flares at the pirates to warn them off," it said.
Coalition forces on patrol in the area were alerted and dispatched the USS Farragut to track down the pirates on board the three skiffs.
"A SH-60B Seahawk helicopter, from Farragut, was immediately dispatched to monitor the pirates while the suspected pirate skiffs were boarded," the statement added.
Eleven suspected pirates were held briefly "while the mother skiff was destroyed and sunk," it said.
"After ensuring that the suspected pirates had no means to conduct any more attacks, all 11 were released on the two small skiffs," according to the statement from the Bahrain-based Fifth Fleet.
The USS Farragut is part of the US-led Combined Task Force (CTF) 151 coalition carrying out counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean.
Also on Thursday near the Seychelles, the USS Nicholas captured five suspected pirates who had opened fire from a small boat.