COPENHAGEN (AFP) - The Danish navy said Thursday it had stopped a pirate ship off the Somali coast, rescuing 12 Iranian and Pakistani hostages and arresting their 16 captors.
"The Danish warship Absalon yesterday (Wednesday) stopped a pirate mother-ship. Sixteen suspected pirates have been arrested. Twelve hostages from Pakistan and Iran have been rescued," the navy said in a statement.
The navy said no one was injured in the operation off the east coast of Somalia and that the Absalon, a command and support ship which is part of a NATO-led counter-piracy mission, had not needed to use armed force.
"Onboard the mother-ship, Absalon found 16 suspected pirates, who are now being held on Absalon. In addition, 12 people from Pakistan and Iran, who were being held captive on the pirate mother ship for a month, were there," the statement said.
"The rescued hostages have provided witness testimony onboard the Absalon and have now sailed home," it said, adding: "Danish authorities will now investigate whether there is a possibility to prosecute the suspected pirates. At the end of February, the Absalon stopped another pirate mother-ship, freeing 16 Pakistani and Iranian hostages and capturing 17 pirates, but that operation was not as successful: two other hostages died during the rescue bid.