Britain confirms piracy operation off Somalia

11th October 2011, Comments 0 comments

Britain confirmed on Tuesday that members of its navy had boarded a hijacked Italian merchant ship off the coast of Somalia after the 11 pirates on board surrendered.

The Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) vessel Fort Victoria boarded the MV Montecristo without opposition after responding to a call for help from the Italian ship and a US Navy frigate, the Ministry of Defence said.

"We can confirm that late this morning (Tuesday) the RFA Fort Victoria, currently on NATO counter-piracy operations east of Suez, responded to calls to assist a pirated Italian merchant ship, the MV Montecristo, along with an American Navy frigate," an MoD spokesman said.

"Due to the presence of the warships, 11 suspected pirates on board the pirated vessel surrendered without force.

"A Royal Naval boarding team carried out a compliant boarding of the vessel and the suspected pirates are being detained."

The Italian government said British and US commandoes had freed 23 crew members in the operation.

© 2011 AFP

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