19 Apr 2009

Tanker crew freed from pirate

6:52 am on 19 April 2009

Dutch marines have freed 16 sailors after pirates in the Gulf of Aden briefly seized control of a tanker.

The Handytankers Magic was attacked on Saturday by pirates aboard a dhow, which itself was taken last Thursday.

However, a British naval vessel in the vicinity kept its guns trained on it until a Dutch frigate arrived under NATO orders to board the dhow.

Meanwhile, Belgium has confirmed a ship which sent distress signals, has been captured.

The Pompei transmitted two alarms early on Saturday while about 600km from the Somali coast, en route to the Seychelles.

A Spanish navy helicopter has since reported sighting The Pompei heading towards Somalia.

Most Somali pirates operate from the northern region of Puntland.