Danish warship frees Pakistani, Iranian hostages

January 9th, 2012 - 7:34 am ICT by IANS  

Copenhagen, Jan 9 (IANS) A Danish warship has freed 14 Iranian and Pakistani hostages following a seaborne action against pirates off Somalia’s coast, the Danish Navy said.

On Saturday, the warship Absalon, 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.

“The operation took place as planned and without harm to the ship’s crew, the hostages or the pirates,” Xinhua quoted Carsten Fjord Larsen, captain of the warship Absalon, which conducted the action, as saying in a statement.

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

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

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.

The pirates and hostages were being questioned, while the fishing vessel was held alongside the Absalon with a view to returning it to its rightful owner.

There was, however, no information as to how long the hostages were held captive. 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 ships off its coast.

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