Anxious moment for heli crew
LUMUT: Confronted by pirates off the Somalia coast was a nerve-wrecking moment for our navy boys.
Commander Sazalee Shoib, commander of the Super Lynx helicopter unit, was watching over the MISC container vessel Bunga Mas Enam which had stalled due to mechanical problems in November last year.
Below, two skiffs (speedboats) filled with the pirates were already near the vessel with six other skiffs rushing to the scene.
Commander Sazalee said there was a possibility that the pirates carried rocket launchers and other weapons.
Kapt Khalid speaking to Commander Sazalee (left) at the Lumut naval base Thursday. The KD Mahawangsa is seen in the background.
So he kept a safe distance but close enough to show the pirates that he meant business.
“Under the rules of engagement, we are not allowed to fire unless fired upon first,” said Commander Sazalee when met at the naval base here yesterday.
The pirates, probably considering their options, decided not to do anything.
After an hour, they retreated upon seeing the warship KD Mahawangsa.
The KD Mahawangsa had sailed to the Gulf of Aden on Sept 7 last year to escort merchant ships plying the pirate-infested Gulf of Aden.
A filepic of the warship escorting the MISC trade vessel to its destination.
One of its mission was to escort the Bunga Mas Enam and another merchant ship to Djibouti, Somalia.
KD Mahawangsa commanding officer Kapt Khalid Jaafar said the container vessel had fallen an hour behind due to the mechanical failure. The vessel’s crew then radioed in to say that eight skiffs were approaching the vessel.
“I decided to send the Super Lynx team (to watch over the vessel) while we make our way back to the vessel,” Kapt Khalid said.
He said it was an anxious moment for him and his crew.
The KD Mahawangsa returned to base here on Dec 17 and was replaced by the KD Sri Inderasakti.