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13 Dec, 2008 14:30

Indian navy capture 23 pirates

The Indian navy has captured 23 pirates who were attempting to seize a merchant vessel in the Gulf of Aden, an area where 40 ships have been hijacked this year.

An Indian warship, the INS Mysore, was escorting merchant vessels in the region when it received a distress call, saying that two pirate boats were attacking a cargo ship, the Gibe. The pirates tried to escape when the warship and a helicopter approached.

According to the India Press Information Bureau statement, the Mysore closed in on the vessels and ordered them to stop. The larger boat, a dhow later identified as the Salahaddin, had a smaller one in tow. The dhow was boarded by Indian marine commandoes and a search was carried out.

Those arrested, 12 Somalis and 11 Yemenis, had a large cache of arms and equipment with them, including seven AK-47s, an RPG, three outboard motors and a GPS receiver.

The Gibe was flying an Ethiopian flag.

Meanhwile, negotiations with pirates over the crew of the Faina, a Ukrainian cargo vessel, captured by pirates off the Somali coast on September 25 are still in progress.