French navy captures three suspected Somali pirates
No arms were found on the boat when the French navy seized the suspected pirates.ABOARD FRENCH FRIGATE THE NIVOSE – The French navy on Thursday captured three suspected Somali pirates in waters off the lawless country's coast, an AFP correspondent reported.
The three offered no resistance when they were seized at dawn by forces aboard the Nivose, a French frigate serving in the European Union's anti-piracy naval mission Atalanta off the Somali coast.
"They are suspected of piracy," said Jean-Marc Le Quilliec, the ship's commander.
No decision had yet been taken as to where the suspected pirates would be taken, the commander adding: "Everything is possible, nothing is set in stone."
The trio were captured at 5:00 am local time, with a member of the French forces saying "when we arrived, they already had their hands on their heads."
The French sailor said there were "no arms aboard" their 10-metre-long boat.
However, under interrogation, one of them told the commander in broken English that "skiffs" (speedboats carrying their companions) had already left with weapons.
Thirteen fuel drums, life boat starter plugs and several life jackets from the Bow Asir – a vessel seized by pirates on 26 March and released earlier this month – were found on the boat.
The interception was led by armed navy forces on two light boats guided by a helicopter as the warship approached.
The Nivose had just returned from the Kenyan port of Mombasa where it handed over 11 suspected Somali pirates captured when it intercepted their mother ship off the Kenyan coast.
That group are awaiting trial in Mombasa following agreements with Kenya by the European Union, the United States and Britain.
Thursday's arrests were the latest in the hunt against marauding pirates in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden and came two days after a Russian naval destroyer seized 29 suspected pirates off the coast of Somalia.
Attacks against vessels surged throughout April as calm seas allowed the pirates to approach their prey more easily and dodge a growing naval presence in the region.
Without an effective central government since 1991, Somali pirates are believed to be holding to ransom at least 16 ships – 11 of which were seized in April alone – and more than 250 seamen.
This is despite international naval missions – including from NATO and the European Union – sending some 20 warships to patrol the sea lanes between the Gulf of Aden, the Indian Ocean and the east African coast.
AFP / Expatica