Alleged Somali pirates taken to Seychelles for trial

Nine alleged Somali pirates arrested by the Danish navy in early November have been transferred to the Seychelles for trial, police in the archipelago nation said Sunday.

The Seychelles national police force said authorities in the Indian Ocean country had agreed to accept the transfer of the nine suspected pirates after they were captured on the high seas by the Danish navy, which was taking part in the European Union’s Atalanta anti-piracy operations.

The suspected pirates were arrested after attacking a Danish ship, the Torm Kansas, on November 9, the police statement said.

“M/V Torm Kansas retaliated, managed to repel their attacks and solicited back-up from their base to arrest the attackers,” it said.

Investigations indicate the same group also attacked the Hong Kong-flagged Zhongji No1 on November 6 but were fought off by armed security officers on board, it added.

The suspects, aged between 14 and 35, were handed over to Seychelles authorities on Saturday, it said.

International fleets patrolling the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean have greatly curtailed Somali piracy in recent years. Moves by shipping companies to use armed guards aboard their vessels has also curbed the once-rampant problem.

In January 2011, pirates were holding 736 hostages and more than 32 merchant ships. Today they are not holding any large boats, though they still have dozens of hostages from countries including China, India, Iran, Thailand and Yemen.

The Seychelles, a 115-island archipelago, agreed in 2010 to accept suspected pirates arrested on the high seas and put them on trial.


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