Friday, April 13, 2012

Danish warship stops Somali pirate vessel, 12 hostages freed

Map showing the extent of Somali pirate attack...
Map showing the extent of Somali pirate attacks on shipping vessels between 2005 and 2010. Français : Carte montrant l'étendue des attaques de pirates somaliens sur des navires de transport entre 2005 et 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
COPENHAGEN, April 12 (Xinhua) -- A Danish warship has apprehended a suspected pirate ship off Somalia's coast, and released 12 hostages held on board, the Danish naval command said here Thursday.

The warship Absalon, which is part of NATO-led anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden, stopped the pirate mother ship in waters off Somalia's east coast on Wednesday.

Sixteen suspected pirates were arrested and are now detained on board the warship, the navy said in a press statement.

Twelve persons, said to be from Iran and Pakistan, and who were held hostage on the pirate ship for over a month, were released from captivity following the action. They are now sailing home, the statement added.

No shots were fired during the operation and no casualties are reported, the navy said. Danish authorities are now examining whether the suspected pirates can be prosecuted, it added.

This is the second time since February that the Absalon has stopped a pirate mother ship, arrested pirates and released hostages.

According to Danish broadcaster TV2, Danish warships have captured a total of 280 pirates off Somalia's coast, but only 37 have been delivered for prosecution, with the rest set free.

Without a functional government since 1991, Somalia has become a haven for pirates who are believed to make millions of dollars by capturing and ransoming commercial and private ships and crews.

The shipping industry and world governments spend around 7 billion U.S. dollars annually to avoid, combat, or mitigate Somali piracy in the Indian Ocean, the U.S.-based One Earth Foundation said in a report earlier February.

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