French and US warships on patrol off the Somali coast detained 12 suspected pirates after a merchant vessel reported coming under attack at the weekend, the European Union Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) said in a statement Tuesday (January 8th).
Troops from the Somali region of Puntland rescued 22 hostages held by pirates for almost three years after their ship was seized off the Yemeni coast. After their rescue on December 23rd, the survivors were taken by road to Bosaso, where they were evacuated to Nairobi. [AFP] Play Video
NATO and the EU's Atalanta anti-piracy taskforce said the vessel issued a distress call after it was attacked by a boat carrying six suspected pirates armed with rocket-propelled grenades. The crew on the unnamed Panama-flagged vessel gathered in a secure room while an on-board armed security team exchanged fire with the suspected pirates, AFP reported.
The USS Halyburton and the French frigate Surcouf responded to the distress call, with French forces intercepting two small boats and arresting the men. The 12 suspected pirates are now being held on the Surcouf, pending legal proceedings.