Police custody till April 5 for six Somali pirates
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Last Updated: Wednesday, March 30, 2011, 22:38
Mumbai: Six out of the 16 Somali pirates, who were recently arrested from high seas after the Navy foiled their attack on a foreign merchant vessel, were on Wednesday remanded in police custody for six days, police said.

The 16 sea brigands were booked under various sections of the IPC, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Indian Passport Act, the Foreigners Act and the Arms Act yesterday after they were brought here in 'INS Suvarna', police said.

"Six pirates were remanded in police custody till April 5 while the rest were remanded in judicial custody till the same period," said M Tope, Inspector at Yellow Gate police station.

The Navy on Saturday apprehended the pirates after repulsing their attack on merchant vessel 'MV Maersk Kensington' about 400 nautical miles off the West coast.

The pirates on their ship 'Morteza' tried to attack the merchant vessel. 'Morteza', with 18 sailors on board, had been hijacked by pirates in November 2010.

According to police, who cited the rescued crew members from Morteza, the sea brigands had killed one Pakistani and an Iranian national.

"We identified the pirate who had killed the two hostages. Since he is now in our custody, we will question (him) in detail," Tope added.

Tope informed that the pirates are not cooperating in investigations.

"The pirates had confessed to their role in the murder of the hostages but now they were saying they did not kill anybody," he added.

According to police, the Navy operation began when a maritime reconnaissance aircraft TU142 on patrol located 'Morteza' while responding to a distress call received at the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) here on Saturday from 'MV Maersk Kensington'.

The aircraft facilitated 'INS Suvarna', patrolling in the area, to intercept the pirate vessel. The Coast Guard ship 'ICGS Sangram' was also diverted for the operation.

Several warnings by 'INS Suvarna' to stop the pirate vessel failed. The pirates fired at the Naval ship which was retaliated by Naval guards, officials said.

The firing by the Navy resulted in the pirate vessel catching fire and sank later. However, the pirates and the hostages managed to jump into the waters in time, they said.


First Published: Wednesday, March 30, 2011, 22:38

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