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Sea captain helps rescue ship after pirate attack

Telford | News | Published:

A sea captain from near Newport has helped in the rescue of an Italian cargo ship in the Indian Ocean after it was attacked and seized by pirates.

A sea captain from near Newport has helped in the rescue of an Italian cargo ship in the Indian Ocean after it was attacked and seized by pirates.

The Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship Fort Victoria, under the command of 53-year-old Captain Shaun Jones, from Haughton, near Gnosall, rescued the cargo ship, off the coast of Somalia.

Pirates grabbed the ship on Monday, but the crew took refuge in a secure area and called for help.

Capt Jones and his crew of 250 joined forces from the US Navy and rescued the crew after the 11 pirates on board surrendered and were arrested.

All 23 crew members of the Montecristo cargo ship, seven Italians, six Ukrainians and 10 Indians, are now safe. Capt Jones, whose wife, Stephanie, is a solicitor, joined the Royal Fleet Auxiliary as a deck cadet in 1974, aged 16.

He studied for professional qualifications at the Plymouth School of Maritime Studies and after becoming an officer served on several ships, including on the Sir Tristram during the Falklands War in 1982, in which the ship was heavily damaged and eventually abandoned after action.

He was promoted to captain in December 2000 and has since commanded several other vessels. Capt Jones is currently tasked with tackling piracy as part of the Enhanced Counter Piracy Operations in the Indian Ocean along with other Nato vessels.

Pirates flourish off the coast of Somalia by attacking passing ships, taking hostages and demanding ransoms to free them.

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Governments are increasingly tasking assault teams with boarding ships and battling pirates.

Pirates currently hold at least 10 ships and 251 hostages, according to the anti-piracy military coalition European Union Naval Force.

The RFA Fort Victoria was launched in 1990 and in recognition of her efforts to curb piracy in the Somali region in the autumn of 2010 Fort Victoria was awarded the RFA Centenary Wedgwood Bowl for Humanitarian Aid and International Relations.

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