Dai Hong Dan incident
Part of Operation Enduring Freedom – Horn of Africa and the War on Terror
Dai Hong Dan.jpg

Dai Hong Dan underway
Date29 October 2007
Indian Ocean, off the coast of Mogadishu

U.S. and North Korean victory

  • Sailors regain control of the ship
 North Korea
 United States
Somali pirates
1 destroyer
1 seized cargo vessel
22 sailors
7 pirates
Casualties and losses
6 North Korean sailors wounded (3 seriously) 1–2 killed
5–6 captured (3 of whom were wounded)

The Dai Hong Dan incident took place on 29 October 2007, when the North Korean cargo vessel MV Dai Hong Dan was attacked and temporarily seized by Somali pirates off Somalia.[1] The following day, the crew of the vessel overpowered the pirates with the support of a U.S. naval vessel.[2][3][4]


The incident took place about 70 miles (110 km) northeast of the Somali capital, Mogadishu. A group of Somali pirates boarded and captured the North Korean cargo ship Dai Hong Dan. According to North Korean sources, the ship had unloaded its cargo in the Somali capital when seven armed pirates (disguised as guards) boarded the ship, detaining the 22 sailors of the crew in the steering room and an engine room. They then forced the ship to sea and demanded a ransom of USD$15,000.[1]


The following day, responding to the vessel's distress signal, the American destroyer USS James E. Williams approached the ship and deployed an SH-60B helicopter and a VBSS (Visit, Board, Search, and Seizure) team to secure the scene.[4] Meanwhile, the North Korean sailors attacked their captors, seizing some weapons. A prolonged gunfight between the sailors and the pirates resulted in the pirates' defeat.

One or two pirates were killed in the engagement, and the others were captured (three were wounded). Of the six Korean sailors wounded, three required medical treatment, which was provided by American medical personnel.


The North Korean press (KCNA) released an unprecedented positive statement, expressing gratitude to the United States for their help,[5][6] and emphasizing the successful US–North Korean collaboration during the incident.[7][8]


  1. ^ a b "Pirates 'overpowered' off Somalia". BBC News. 31 October 2007.
  2. ^ "N. Korea Thanks U.S. for Piracy Aid". military.com. Associated Press (AP). 9 November 2007. Retrieved 15 July 2017.
  3. ^ Porth, Jacquelyn S. (1 November 2007). "U.S. Navy Still Battles Pirates on the High Seas". Bureau of International Information Programs. US Government. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 15 July 2017.
  4. ^ a b "Crew wins deadly pirate battle off Somalia". CNN. 30 October 2007. Retrieved 15 July 2017.
  5. ^ "North Korea offers rare thanks to U.S. for help". Reuters. Retrieved 19 August 2018.
  6. ^ "N. Korea thanks U.S. for helping its sailors in fight with Somali pirates". Denver Post. Retrieved 19 August 2018.
  7. ^ "DPRK's Consistent Principled Stand to Fight against All Forms of Terrorism Reiterated". kcna.co.jp. 11 November 2007. Archived from the original on 13 April 2015.
  8. ^ Herman, Burt (8 November 2007). "NKorea Thanks US Over Piracy Standoff". AP News via The Washington Post.