Dutch capture 13 suspected Somali pirates


The Dutch navy says it has captured 13 pirates believed to be from Somalia after they tried to hijack a cargo ship off the Oman coast.

A defense ministry statement says pirates raced to the BBC Togo on speed boats and opened fire on the vessel on Wednesday. The ministry says the pirates tried to board the ship, but could not get past barriers made of barbed wire.

The pirates fled to a larger vessel where the Dutch military says they were captured about 280 km south of Salalah.

Dutch officials say the navy also freed two Tanzanian fishermen the pirates had been holding captive and seized weapons including AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenades.

Separately, Somali pirates released a German-owned cargo ship and its 10-member crew nearly six months after seizing them off the Oman coast.

The European Union announced the release in a statement yesterday, but did not say if a ransom was paid.

Somali pirates seized the MV Charelle, (an Antigua and Barbuda-flagged ship,) about 95 km south of Oman on June 12.

Pirate attacks in the area have soared over the last 18 months. The International Maritime Bureau says the number of attacks off the Somali coast in 2009 already has surpassed last year’s figures.

Source www.voanews.com