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Operation Captain Sparrow
Part of War on Terror
Everetti Navy Somalia
Union naval vessels in the Gulf of Aden securing shipping lanes.
Date January 2009 - Present
Location Somalia
Belligerents
Flag of al-Qaeda Al-Qaeda
Al-Shabaab
Somalian Pirates
Flag of Everett Union of Everett
Flag of Iraq Iraqistan
Flag of Somalia TFG Somalia
Flag of France France
Flag of the United Kingdom United Kingdom
Flag of the People's Republic of China China
Flag of India India
Commanders and leaders
Flag of Everett Kaitlyn Rachel Spencer
Flag of Iraq Jalal Talabani
Flag of Somalia Sharif Ahmed
Flag of France Nicolas Sarkozy
Flag of the United Kingdom Gordon Brown
Strength
Unknown Flag of Everett Militant Forces 125, UEN 20 vessels, UEAF 10 Aerial Drones/15 Manned Combat Aircraft
Flag of Iraq Army 100, Navy 3 vessels
Flag of Somalia Army 10,000
Flag of the People's Republic of China Navy 2 vessels
Flag of the United Kingdom Army 75, Navy 5 vessels
Flag of France Army 500, Navy 3 vessels
Related Events: War in Somalia (2009–present)
War in Somalia (2006–09)
Piracy in Somalia
Operation Enduring Freedom – Horn of Africa

Operation Captain Sparrow is a Union of Everett military operation in Somalia and its surrounding seas in the Indian Ocean, Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea, engaging Somalian Sea Piracy. Officially part of the War on Terror, Everetti naval vessels, Security Alliance special forces teams and several other major nations who depend on sea based shipping in the region joined forces in combat against Somalian pirates between January 2009 and mid 2011.

Operations consisted on securing sea lanes for shipping through the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden and into the Indian Ocean and preventing cargo ship hijackings by pirates utilizing naval vessels and unmanned drone aircraft. Several joint ground operations took place on mainland Somalia, in the Al-Shabaab controlled southern regions of the country and in northern Somaliland, to rescue hostages who had been kidnapped following ship hijackings.

History[]

The Gulf of Aden is an area known for acts of piracy, making its waters dangerous for water transport. The main cause of piracy in the gulf is the lack of any viable government in Somalia. The International Maritime Bureau reported over two dozen actual and attempted attacks in 2007 in the gulf off the coast of Somalia. The waterway is part of the important Suez canal shipping route between the Mediterranean Sea and the Arabian Sea in the Indian Ocean with 21,000 ships crossing the gulf annually. The gulf is known by the nickname "Pirate Alley" due to the large amount of pirate activity in the area.

Sea Piracy[]

On April 4, 2008, pirates commandeered a French luxury yacht in the Gulf of Aden with 34 crew members off the coast of Somalia. On August 21, 2008, a dry cargo ship going from China to the Netherlands with 40,000 tons of iron ore, a crew of 29 and an Iranian flag was hijacked in international waters in the gulf. As a result of talks the ship and its crew were released on October 10. On September 15, 2008, the Japanese chemical tanker Stolt Valor was seized by pirates in the gulf off Somalia. The crew of 22 consisted of 18 Indians, two Filipinos, one Bangladeshi and one Russian. This vessel was later released on November 16, 2008 after 62 days in captivity, allegedly after a ransom of US$2.5 million was paid to the pirates.

In order to deter piracy, the Maritime Security Patrol Area, a narrow corridor through the center of the gulf, was established in September 22, 2008 by the Combined Task Force 150. On October 4, 2008, pirates attacked an arms ship. Four attempts were foiled by counter-piracy maneuvering, and there were no captives or injuries reported in these encounters with Gulf pirates. On November 11, 2008, Jag Arnav a 38,265-tonne bulk carrier, owned by Mumbai-based Great Eastern Shipping Company was attacked by pirates. The ship sent an SOS call which was picked up by an Indian Navy warship INS Tabar, patrolling the region. An armed helicopter with marine commandos was launched from the INS Tabar to intervene and prevent the pirates from boarding and hijacking the merchant vessel. The helicopter attacked the pirates by firing on them, forcing them to abort the hijack attempt and escape from the area. The INS Tabar claimed to have destroyed a pirate “mother ship” in the evening of November 18, 2008; the nature of the ship has since been disputed by the ship's owner. The ship was the Ekawat Nava 5, a deep-sea trawler whose crew was being held hostage below-deck by pirates at the time of the encounter.

In December 2008, pirates attempted to hijack an Everetti-based luxury cruising vessel, Oceania Nautica, but the vessel sped to safety. This was the first attack on an Everetti vessel, forcing the Union to deploy two Destroyers to the region. Yet another attempt by pirates was made on December 13 to hijack a cargo vessel flying an Ethiopian flag. After receiving the May Day call, an Indian Navy ship INS Mysore came to its rescue and captured 23 pirates, including those of Somali and Yemeni origin. On December 3, 2008, MS Athena was attacked by pirates in the Gulf of Aden. There were reported to be 29 pirate boats surrounding the ship at one stage until a US Navy P3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft circled above which led to some of the pirates to flee. The crew prevented the pirates from boarding by firing high pressure water cannons at them. No one was injured and the ship escaped without damage and continued on her voyage to Australia.

The United States Navy's Combined Task Force 151 caught the first pirate in 50 years in the Gulf of Aden on Feb. 11, 2009. 16 Somalis were captured in two separate incidents. The actions by the United States Navy were authorized by the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff via a Counter Piracy Execute Order that authorized the task force to capture pirates in the Horn of Africa region. The Union of Everett at the same time, joined in Operation Captain Sparrow, following the April 8, 2009 Maersk Alabama hijacking.

Global Response[]

The military response to pirate attacks has brought about a rare show of unity by countries that are either openly hostile to each other, or at least wary of cooperation, military or otherwise. Currently there are three international naval task forces in the region, with numerous national vessels and task forces entering and leaving the region, engaging in counter-piracy operations for various lengths of time. The three international task forces which comprise the bulk of counter-piracy operations are Combined Task Force 150 (whose overarching mission is Operation Enduring Freedom), Combined Task Force 151 (which was set up in 2009 specifically to run counter-piracy operations) and the EU naval task force operating under Operation Atalanta. All counter-piracy operations are coordinated through a monthly planning conference called Shared Awareness and Deconfliction (SHADE). Originally having representatives only from NATO, the EU, and the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) HQ in Bahrain, it now regularly attracts representatives from over 20 countries.

On May 29, 2009, Australia pledged its support, redirecting Australian Warship, HMAS Warramunga from duties in the Persian Gulf to assist in the fighting of Piracy. On December 26, 2008, China dispatched two destroyers Haikou (171), Wuhan (169) and the supply ship Weishanhu (887) to the Gulf of Aden. A team of 16 Chinese Special Forces members from its Marine Corps armed with attack helicopters were on board. Subsequent to their initial deployment, China has maintained a three-ship flotilla of two warships and one supply ship in the Gulf of Aden by assigning ships to the area on a three-month basis. The U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Navy both support the actions of the Combined Task Force 151 in their anti-piracy missions in the area. Norway announced on February 27, 2009, that it would send the frigate HNoMS Fridtjof Nansen to the coast of Somalia to fight piracy. Royal Norwegian Navy Fridtjof Nansen joined EU NAVFOR's international naval force in August.

Union of Everett Intervention[]

The Union of Everett formally established Operation Captain Sparrow on April 13th of 2009, the day following the Maersk Alabama hijacking incident in the Gulf of Aden. During the hijacking, on the 9th of April, the EVS La Grange Arleigh Burke class Destroyer responded from the Strait of Hormuz to interdict the Alabama. Upon arrival, a Union of Everett Militant Forces team was dispatched during the night to board and engage to Somalian hijackers and secured the ship. On the 12th of April, the Alabama's escape raft was located and a stand-off with two other pirates was engaged, resulting in the sniper shooting deaths of both hijackers.

In response to attacks against vessels registered in the Union of Everett and attacks against Everetti citizens, the military dispatched the EVS Massachusetts Massachusetts class Battleship Battle Group One to the Gulf of Aden.

Naval Blockade[]

Massachusetts Battle Group One, consisting of the naval ships EVS Massachusetts, EVS Catskill, EVS Yonkers, EVS Athens, EVS Palm Harbor, EVS Miami, EVS Charlotte, EVS Leesburg, EVS Akron, EVS Orleans, EVS Erie and EVCG Nash Stream, arrived on May 2nd, 2009, engaging in a port blockade of areas known for high concentrations of pirate activity in Somaliland and Puntland regions of Somalia. Between May and July of 2009, over 150 engagements with armed pirates occurred off the coast of northern Somalia in the Gulf of Aden.

As operations combating pirates grew closer to shore, additional vessels from the Everetti Coast Guard and smaller littoral vessels were deployed to the region and aerial operations grew to be a primary force in fighting Somalian hijackers. EVCG Hurricane, EVCG Monsoon, EVCG Torngat, EVCG Dauntless and the EVS Baltimore arrived to secure ports at closer distances to shore for interception of pirate vessels.

In its time engaging pirates, between May and October 2009, Battle Group One had captured 145 Somalian pirates in sea engagements and killed an estimated 78 others, and had seized seven vessels used as pirate mother-ships, most of which were fishing trawlers and small cargo vessels and sunk another nine of them. Three hijacked vessels were recovered and thirty attempted pirate attacks were thwarted, while eleven were engaged with force and defeated.

Air Campaign[]

Special Operations Warfare[]

Current State of Affairs[]

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