Danish warship frees 14 hostages

January 9th, 2012

This article is more than 12 years old.

An investigation is underway to determine what happens next to the pirates and the hostages

Now that a seaborne rescue operation conducted by the Danish warship Absalon against pirates off the coast of Somalia has freed 14 Iranian and Pakistani hostages, investigators are working to determine what should happen next.

On Saturday, the Absalon, which is part of a NATO-led anti-piracy operation, pursued a craft it suspected of being a pirate mother ship off the Somali coast in the Indian Ocean. The pirates surrendered after a three-hour standoff, during which the Absalon fired warning shots and instructed the pirates to surrender.

The 25 pirates and 14 hostages are currently being interviewed aboard the Absalon in an effort to establish what exactly happened onboard the captured vessel. 

“We are in the process of piecing together what happened”, said Navy commander Mikael Bill from the Søværnets Operative Kommando (SOK) . “We are questioning both the hostages and the pirates. The information we gather will help us decide the next steps.”

Early reports indicate that the Iranian fishing boat was captured two months ago and that the 14 sailors onboard had been held captive since then. They expressed great relief at having been rescued and have made contact with their families.

The captured pirates cannot be prosecuted under Danish law, but Denmark has agreements with Kenya and the Republic of Seychelles that would allow for the pirates to be tried in those countries.??The Iranian vessel is seaworthy, and the hostages could use it to get home.

“Having the hostages simply sail their ship home is possible, but it is still too early to say if that will happen,” Bill said.

The Iranian vessel, one of the largest captured by a Danish warship in the battle against pirates, is currently being held alongside the Absalon.

Somalia has been without a functional government since 1991, and has become a home for pirates who launch attacks on ships off its coast.


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