Dutch NATO Commandos Free 20 Pirate Captives

April 18, 2009

(ChattahBox)—Somali pirates continue to infest the waters off Somalia in the Gulf of Aden, stepping up their attacks on anything that floats, from small fishing dhows to super tankers. A Dutch NATO ship recently stopped a pirate attack on a Greek tanker and freed 20 Yemeni fishermen, held hostage since Sunday when pirates hijacked their fishing dhow, using the wooden fishing trawler as a “mother ship” to launch attacks on other ships.

The daring Dutch rescue began when the ship received a distress call from a Greek tanker, saying it was under attack from Somali pirates. The Dutch NATO ship rushed to the scene, as the pirates were fleeing in a small speedboat back to the hijacked fishing dhow. Dutch commandos said the pirates had just attacked the tanker with assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades.

The Dutch vessel chased the heavily armed pirates, capturing them. The Dutch NATO forces then boarded the fishing dhow, rescuing the terrified Yemeni fishermen.

The commandos were forced to release the seven pirates to continue to terrorize the waters of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. NATO law doesn’t provide for detainment of maritime captives, and Dutch law allows detention only if the pirates are from the Netherlands, the victims are from the Netherlands, or if they are in Netherlands waters.

However, the Dutch commandos captured the pirates’ weapons, leaving them unarmed for the time being.

Meanwhile, Belgium officials are reporting Somali pirates captured a dredger, the Pompei, on its way to the Seychelles. The Belgium government has not heard from the Pompei since it sent out two distress signals on Saturday. Ten crewmembers are on board, including two Belgium nationals.

The Somali pirates show no signs of slowing down their piracy, even after two deadly confrontations with French and U.S. forces. A French naval ship recently stormed a pirate-hijacked yacht, rescuing four hostages, as one perished during the rescue. Two pirates were killed and three taken prisoner.

The U.S. navy together with Navy Seal commandos and FBI hostage negotiators recently freed an American tanker captain held hostage by four Somali pirates, killing three pirates and taking the fourth prisoner.

Somali pirates currently hold more than 280 crewmembers and 15 cargo ships hostage in pirate havens in Somalia.

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