The Royal Australian Navy Frigates, HMA Ships ‘Sydney’ and ‘Ballarat’, went to the aid of the merchant vessel ‘Dubai Princess’ on Sunday May 17, after she raised distress signals in the Gulf of Aden
‘The ‘Dubai Princess’ claimed it was under attack from pirates, who were reported to be firing rocket-propelled grenades and attempting to board the vessel by force. The incident occurred in international waters approximately 170km south of Yemen. ‘Sydney’ and ‘Ballarat’ responded to the distress signal while transiting though the Gulf of Aden as part of their Northern Trident 2009 deployment around the world. As the situation developed, another merchant vessel, ‘MSC Stella’, was also harassed by small vessels in the same vicinity. The Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, said the measured response by the two passing Australian ships provided security to the merchant vessels and stabilised the situation.