Rescue of Hostages In The Sea: How to Release a Hijacked Ship 

The experience in the fight against piracy has revealed that perhaps the most difficult task to be undertaken by the Navy is the rescue of hostages at sea.

Spain lived with shame the kidnapping of the fishing boats Bakio Beach and Alakrana, in 2010 and 2011, which ended with the ignominious payment of ransoms and in which the pirate’s kidnappers escaped from roses given the cowardice and contrasted pusillanimity of the government of then presided over by José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero. Paid rescues and pirates fled not because they lacked the means to confront and rescue the hostages, but because the indolence of the administration denied intervention to the Navy ships and the Special Naval Warfare Force detachment, #FUGNE , sent to the area.

The opinion of all analysts and defense experts was clear:  There is no point in having last generation warships or elite commandos if there is no willingness to use them”.

The real experience

This ignominious veil began to rise with the heroic and exemplary rescue of the French citizen Evelyne Colombo on September 10, 2011, by members of the FUGNE on board the ship Galicia, the triumph of this operation and its brilliant execution put Spain on the map of nations capable of carrying out hostage rescue missions abroad.

To state that the rescue order did not come from the government, but from the command of Operation Atalanta, forcing the Zapatero administration to admit the results and trying to get the best party out of them.

After this triumph the Spanish naval successes against # piracy and rescuing hostages followed one another: On March 11, 2011, Infanta Elena rescues a kidnapped Dhow-type fishing vessel freeing 14 hostages and arresting 10 pirates. On March 14, the frigate Canarias frees another Dhow rescuing 14 hostages, they had been kidnapped for 5 months, and capturing 7 pirates, on November 16 Infanta Cristina [VIDEO] rescues the third Dhow, freeing 21 hostages and capturing 9 filibusters.

In all these actions it was demonstrated that the tactical and combat ability of the Somali pirate is simply null, the Spanish sailors exceeded at all times the filibusters and subjected them with full superiority, an evident example that with a controlled use of force the cases from Alakrana and Bakio Beach would have had a different purpose than the embarrassing one it had.

Without being more prolix in this list of successes and not include other actions equally forceful against piracy, the truth is that this experience has allowed to refine the techniques of assault on hijacked vessels and the rescue of hostages at sea. A demonstration of this way of doing things was seen in the exercise MILEX conducted in the waters of Cádiz.


Patrolman Vigia plays the role of the kidnapped fishing boat “Avigi” which is closely followed by the frigate Reina Sofía, emulating real pirates the “pirates” make an ostensible presence of their weapons on deck provoking a base of cockiness and arrogance.

It is a fatal error because it allows the intelligence to evaluate its number, there are 6, and armament, assault rifles, while on the roof they roar obscenities, and also evaluate how careless they are in the guards and taking precautions, a clear reflection of reality.

With the aircraft carrier Juan Carlos I directing the operation in the distance, two teams of the FUGNE embarked on two RHIB semi-rigid boats and in a Sea King helicopter with a team of shooters covering the hijacked ship, the order to start the rescue is given.

The experience in the fight against piracy has revealed that perhaps the most difficult task to be undertaken by the Navy is the rescue of hostages at sea.

The rescue

While the Sea King flies over the “Avigi”, the RHIB boats approach the “fishing boat” full machine, the noise attracts the pirates, four of them go out and shoot the boats, from which the fire is returned with machine guns heavy, three of the pirates plummet.

The boats arrive at the stern of the objective and through scales they approach it, exactly at the same time from the helicopter and through fast-rope the FUGNE commandos disembark on the deck and deploy weapons at the ready, the pirate who has escaped the machine gun bursts it is incorporated and it shoots, it is its last error the FUGNE they drop it immediately, almost to the time a fifth buccaneer is liquidated by the shooters of elite from the Juan Carlos I.

Only the leader is left on the bridge where he has the captain as a hostage, the rest of the crew is safe in the panic room, the FUGNE assault the bridge with stun grenades when the terrorist turns to fire on one side of the bridge. Spanish operatives enter the bridge on the opposite side and drop it on the spot. The six pirates are low although the hostage is wounded.

The evacuation is organized and a helicopter picks up the injured person and takes him to Juan Carlos I where he will be treated in his hospital. A total success like the ones attacked in real action in Somalia.


Source: Blasting News