Danish Warship Frees 14 Hostages in Somalia Action
    2012-01-09 01:21:25     Xinhua       Web Editor: Zhangxu

A Danish warship freed 14 Iranian and Pakistani hostages following a seaborne action against alleged pirates off Somalia's coast, the Danish Navy said late Saturday.

"The operation took place as planned and without harm to the ship's crew, the hostages or the pirates," said Carsten Fjord Larsen, Captain of the warship Absalon, which conducted the action, in a press statement.

The Danish Navy is now considering what further action to take with the 25 alleged pirates who were found on board, and how to send home the hostages.

On Saturday morning, the Absalon, which is part of a NATO-led anti-piracy operation, pursued a fishing boat it had suspected of being a pirate mother ship for some time, off Somalia's coast in the Indian Ocean.

"After three hours, the 25 pirates gave themselves up. Some began to throw their weapons overboard, and others followed," Larsen told DR News, Denmark's public broadcaster.

The Absalon fired warning shots and gave verbal instructions to the pirates to surrender, he added.

On inspection, the fishing vessel, which was previously hijacked by pirates, was found to contain small motor boats and fuel, allegedly used by the pirates.

Both alleged pirates and hostages are now being registered and questioned, while the fishing vessel is held alongside the Absalon with a view to returning it to its rightful owner.

There is no information on how long the hostages have been held captive, but Larsen said they have now made contact with their families.

Without a functional government since 1991, Somalia has become a home for pirates who have launched numerous attacks on commercial shipping off its coast. They are believed to make millions of dollars by capturing and ransoming both commercial and private ships and crews.

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