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Royal Navy hold four in piracy hunt

British forces have apprehended four suspected pirates alleged to have been involved with the capture of an Italian cargo ship off the coast of Somalia.

Counter-piracy Royal Navy ships discovered a "pirate mother ship" in the Indian Ocean which had been involved in attacks on merchant shipping, an Ministry of Defence spokesman said.

The dhow boat, which was being used as a base to launch piracy attacks, had been hijacked and a Pakistani crew of 20 was being held hostage on board, he said.

On Friday last week, HMS Somerset and Royal Fleet Auxiliary Fort Victoria closed in on the boat and the suspected pirates surrendered to the team which stormed the vessel.

A large cache of weapons was found on board alongside boarding ladders and equipment from a previously pirated ship.

The four suspected pirates were taken into custody and handed to Italian authorities on suspicion of their involvement in the attack on the cargo ship Monte Cristo, which was rescued by British, US and Italian forces on October 11.

Pirates flourish off Somalia by attacking passing ships, taking hostages and demanding ransoms to free them and the vessels.


From Belfast Telegraph