Dutch commandos have freed 20 fishermen whose vessel was hijacked by Somali pirates and used to launch an attack against a tanker in the Gulf of Aden. The captives, all Yemeni, were freed when Dutch forces chased pirates back to the fishing dhow by following the smaller craft used in the attack.

The dhow was being used by the pirates as a “mother ship” from which to launch armed attacks on commercial shipping. Meanwhile, Belgian officials say pirates have captured a dredger. The vessel, the Pompei, had been en route to the Seychelles. The Dutch took action after receiving a distress call from the Greek-managed tanker.

“We have freed the hostages, we have freed the dhow and we have seized the weapons ”
Nato spokesman

Intercepting the pirates, the troops then boarded the fishing vessel and freed the 20 Yemenis. They had been held hostage since Sunday, Nato spokesman Alexandre Santos Fernandes said.

“We have freed the hostages, we have freed the dhow and we have seized the weapons,” he told the Reuters news agency. The spokesman said the pirates were set free because Nato does not have a maritime detainment policy, meaning Dutch national law would apply in this case.

“They can only arrest them if the pirates are from the Netherlands, the victims are from the Netherlands, or if they are in Netherlands waters,” he said.



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