Note to Somali pirates: If you wish to have a long and lucrative career in the buccaneer business, better learn the difference between a merchant ship and a naval warship.
A group of pirates launched a midnight attack against what they thought was a merchant ship west of the Seychelles Islands Thursday.
Unfortunately for them the ship they picked on was one that had more than enough firepower and capability to hit them back hard, the guided missile frigate USS Nicholas.
The USS Nicholas saw combat in the first Gulf War, and quickly chased down and fired back at the pirate skiff, disabling it. A boarding team from the Nicholas then captured and detained its three man crew before sinking the skiff.
The Nicholas then captured the nearby mothership the sunken skiff was operating from and detained two more pirates.
While this was a success for the international naval force battling piracy off the Somali coast, it still faces the daunting task of monitoring 3000 miles of Somali coastline in addition to a million square miles of ocean.
The pirates have also shifted tactics in reaction to the increased international naval presence, and now attack ships hundreds of miles from their Somali home waters.
The reality is that if they want to eradicate piracy in Somalia, they'll have to eventually strike at the shore bases and ports that supply the motherships and skiffs.