In line with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS Article 100), the Royal Navy may come to the aid of vessels under attack by pirates in international waters. No Royal Navy vessels were in the vicinity of the Svitzer Korsakov at the time of its seizure. A warship was subsequently despatched to the area, ready to assist if required. In the event, British military intervention was not necessary.
In circumstances of this kind, UK Service personnel are permitted to use reasonable force in self defence, or defence of others in accordance with our UK domestic law. It would not be appropriate for me to comment upon the rules of engagement of other nations.