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USS NICHOLAS, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Nicholas (FFG 47) captured suspected pirates April 1 after exchanging fire, sinking a skiff and confiscating a suspected mother ship.  (Cmdr. Mark Kesselring, commanding officer of USS Nicholas, is a 2007 College of Naval Warfare graduate.)

While operating west of the Seychelles in international waters, Nicholas reported taking fire at 12:27 a.m. local time from a suspected pirate skiff and returned fire before commencing pursuit of the vessel until the disabled skiff stopped.

At 1:59 a.m. personnel from Nicholas boarded the disabled skiff and detained three personnel. The boarding team found ammunition and multiple cans of fuel on board.

After taking the suspected pirates on board, Nicholas sank the disabled skiff at 2:59 a.m.

An additional two suspected pirates were captured on the confiscated mother ship.

The suspected pirates will remain in U.S. custody on board Nicholas until a determination is made regarding their disposition.

Piracy is an international maritime issue that consistently affects the safety and security of the sea. The U.S. Navy works to uphold maritime law in order to prevent an environment conducive to piracy.

Nicholas, an Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate homeported in Norfolk, Va., is currently supporting U.S. Naval Forces Africa. U.S. Naval Forces Africa is the naval component in support of U.S. Africa Command.
 
By Chief Mass Communication Specialist (SW/AW/EXW) Michael Lewis, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Africa/Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs