US marines rescue German ship seized by pirates
US marines rescued on Thursday a German-owned ship seized by pirates a day earlier, as part of multinational operations to stem piracy in the Gulf of Aden off Somalia, the US Fifth Fleet said.
In a pre-dawn raid, marines "boarded and seized control of the Antigua-Barbuda flagged German-owned vessel M/V Magellan Star from pirates who attacked and boarded the vessel early September 8," a statement said.
No one was hurt in the operation, in which the Magellan Star's 10-man crew was freed and nine pirates arrested.
The raid was launched from the USS Dubuque after a Turkish frigate -- part of the multinational force -- responded to a distress signal from the Magellan Star.
The statement did not say where the operation took place, and Fifth Fleet spokesmen could not immediately be reached for comment.
The multinational force was set up in January 2009 to protect shipping lanes and stamp out piracy in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean.
Unofficial figures show 2009 was the most prolific year yet for Somali pirates, with more than 200 attacks -- including 68 successful hijackings -- and ransoms believed to exceed 50 million dollars.
At least 23 foreign vessels with more than 411 crew members are still held by pirates, an organisation monitoring piracy, Ecoterra International, said in its latest report on August 31.
© 2010 AFP