A British warship has seized a pirate ship loaded with ammunition in the western Indian Ocean, Nato sources confirmed.
The RFA Fort Victoria, part of Nato's counter piracy mission Operation Ocean Shield, was patrolling the waters between the Somali coast and the Seychelles when a fishing vessel alerted it to a suspicious ship nearby.
The ship, a whaler often used by pirates in the Indian Ocean, had an unusually large crew and a skiff onboard.
Officers from the Fort Victoria intercepted the suspected pirate ship and found 10 people on the deck, along with a pirate ladder to board merchant vessels.
Ammunition was also found during a more thorough search.
Captain Rob Dorey, Commanding Officer of the Fort Victoria, said: "The combined actions of all onboard have saved merchant ships from being pirated and made the area just a little safer.
"In many ways the pirates were lucky that we found them as they would not have survived indefinitely - however, most importantly, we have removed one more pirate group from the Somali Basin and destroyed their whaler so it cannot be used again."
When questioned by Nato officials, the pirates claimed to have been at sea for 45 days, with no food, no engine power and a makeshift sail made from their boarding ladder.
They admitted to having thrown their weapons overboard as the Fort Victoria approached.
The Fort Victoria crew confiscated the ship and suspicious goods from the pirates, who were later released on to the Somali coast.