Wednesday, April 22, 2009

French Navy Transfers 11 Suspected Pirates to Kenya

French Navy Transfers 11 Suspected Pirates To Kenya

4-22-09 7:09 AM EDT

MOMBASA (AFP)--The French navy Wednesday transferred 11 suspected Somali pirates to the Kenyan authorities in the port of Mombasa.

The Nivose, a French frigate serving in the European Union's anti-piracy naval mission Atalanta, docked in Mombasa early Wednesday, a week after capturing the suspects during a chase in the Indian Ocean.

It spotted a pirate 'mother ship' April 14 and hunted the vessel 925 kilometers off the coast of Kenya, before intercepting it the next day and capturing 11 of its crew.

The 11 are expected to be charged in court Thursday for attempting to attack the merchant ship Safmarine Asia, said Mombasa police official Benjamin Rotich.

"We shall continue to interrogate the pirates today to gain more evidence before we take them to court tomorrow," he said.

Ransom-hunting Somali pirates have defied increased international naval presence in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean and benefitted from favorable weather to step up their attacks, seizing at least 11 ships in April alone.

Armed with assault rifles, rockets and grappling hooks, pirates launch their attacks with small and fast skiffs that are towed by so-called mother ships, often hijacked fishing vessels themselves.

France has been one of the most active navies in anti-piracy efforts, capturing dozens of suspects over the past year.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires
Copyright (c) 2009 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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