A Danish warship boarded a pirate supply vessel off the coast of Somalia, captured six suspected pirates and then sank the ship, Denmark’s navy says. The suspects were later freed on the coast, a Danish naval command spokesman said.
“They had not committed anything criminal at sea — they were just on the wrong boat, with the wrong gear at the wrong time,” spokesman Kenneth Nielsen said. “They had equipment on board that could be used in piracy.”
The boat was seized on Tuesday by the navy’s Esbern Snarre vessel during a NATO patrol along Somalia’s east coast, the naval command said in a statement, Reuters says. Piracy is rife off the coast of Somalia in east Africa, disrupting shipping lanes between Europe and Asia, putting crews and vessels in danger and jacking up insurance rates for shipowners.
The Danish crew confiscated a small number weapons and a large amount of fuel before setting explosives to the boat and sinking it, the navy said. “There is a very strong mandate from the UN so that international navies can confiscate and destroy equipment related to piracy,” Nielsen said.
The captured supply boat was larger than the skiffs commonly used by pirates in raids so it could operate far from the coast, he said. “Scuppering this vessel … prevents them from conducting piracy in the middle of the Indian Ocean where it is difficult to find suspected pirates,” Nielsen added.