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Early Thursday morning, a skiff carrying six pirates attacked a Spanish warship off the Horn of Africa, and lost.The ESPS Patino, the flagship of the EU Naval Force (Navfor), was just returning from escorting freighters to Mogadishu, carrying supplies from the World Food Program, ABC News reported.
The EU Navfor’s spokesman said the pirates had probably attacked the naval vessel because they had mistaken it for simply a large ship in the dark, The Daily Mail reported.
The mistake proved costly. The pirates opened fire in an attempt to board the ship, but the crew of the Patino fired back, even launching the ship’s helicopter. The pirates then broke off the attack and tried to escape, but were caught by the helicopter, according to Reuters.
They finally surrendered, but not before throwing their ammunition, guns, and fuel overboard. This is reportedly a common practice among pirates to avoid detention.
In a statement, EU Navfor said five of the six men on board the skiff needed medical treatment, and an investigation was underway to determine whether a seventh crew member had fallen overboard in the skirmish.
Surprisingly, this is not the first time pirates have tried to take on a warship. In October 2009, a gang of them attacked the French warship BCR Somme. Needless to say, the outcome was the same as on Thursday. Some people never learn.