Danish Navy rescues 16 Pakistanis from pirates


ISLAMABAD/MOGADISHU – Sixteen Pakistanis and two Iranians have been freed from Somali pirates after the Danish Navy carried out an air-raid operation to rescue the hostages, in custody of Somali pirates since last year. On April 2, the Danish Navy’s rescue team was attacked by the pirates after which the rescue team responded through fire and overcame the pirate crew. The team boarded the vessel off Somalia’s coast targeting an Iranian fishing boat that the pirates had used as a mothership. The rescue peration was backed by aircraft support, says an official communique issued by the Embassy of Denmark.
Danish Navy spokesman Kenneth Nielsen confirmed that 15 Somali pirates had been arrested from the ship of which three were injured in the operation.
All of them are being held in custody of ESBERN SNARE, a Danish ship that is part of NATO’s counter-piracy force. The Captain of ESBERN SNARE has expressed great pleasure in being able to have the Pakistani crew on his ship. According to him, the freed hostages have been able to call their families from the Danish ship and “are safely on their way back home”. Nielsen said no decision had been taken about the fate of the captured pirates.
The possibility of legal prosecution was under review and the case had been handed over to the Attorney of Special International Crime.The freed hostages, on their request, have been brought back to their own ships, enabling them to sail back to their domestic areas. Four Pakistanis were onboard an Egyptian vessel that was captured by Somali pirates last year. Another ship from Malaysia carrying five Pakistanis was hijacked by the pirates on November 26, 2010 while two more Pakistanis were among hostages of a UAE ship hijacked on March 26, 2010.
The companies that own these ships were negotiating with the pirates to release their crew members since long, but the pirates showed great resistance in any compromise. Meanwhile, Somali pirates said they received a multi-million dollar ransom and released the Thor Nexus, a Thai-owned bulk carrier they seized on December 25. The 20,377-dead weight bulk carrier was hijacked 350 miles off Oman with crew of 27 Thais on its way to Pakistan.