Image: Pirate skiff burns next to the USS Farragut
MC1 Cassandra Thompson  /  U.S. Navy
The USS Farragut passes by the smoke from a suspected pirate skiff it had just disabled.
msnbc.com and NBC News
updated 4/2/2010 9:01:19 AM ET 2010-04-02T13:01:19

A U.S. warship destroyed a pirate skiff after a Sierra Leone-flagged tanker was attacked north-west of the Seychelles, NBC News reported Friday.

The MV Evita was about 300 miles from the Seychelles Wednesday when three suspected pirate boats began to fire on the vessel with rifles, NBC said. They also aimed rocket-propelled grenade launchers at the Evita to force the ship to stop.

The MV Evita then sped up and fired flares at the skiffs, managing to escape the pirates, the news network said.

The Evita reported the attack to the counter-piracy mission in the area, Combined Task Force 151, reported NBC, and the USS Farragut arrived on scene.

Crew members from the Farragut, which is CTF-151's flagship vessel, then boarded the skiffs, NBC said, and a SH-60B Seahawk helicopter was sent out to monitor the pirates during the operation.

Eleven suspected pirates were on the skiffs, which were also carrying with fuel drums and grappling hooks, NBC said.

Ladders thrown
Sailors on the scene reportedly watched the suspected pirates throwing ladders and other equipment overboard.

After the sailors ensured that the suspected pirates had no means to conduct any more attacks, all 11 were released on the two smaller skiffs, while the larger, mother skiff was destroyed and sunk, NBC reported.

The incident came a day before the USS Nicholas exchanged fire with another group of pirates west of the Seychelles, sinking a skiff and confiscating a mother ship. Five pirates also were captured.

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