Washington: A US warship operating in the
Indian Ocean captured five suspected pirates on Thursday after an
exchange of gunfire in international waters near the
Seychelles, the Pentagon said.
The frigate USS Nicholas took the piracy suspects into
custody after the warship sank a skiff, and confiscated a
suspected mother ship, said a statement from US Naval Forces.
"While operating west of the Seychelles in international
waters, Nicholas reported taking fire at 12:27 am local time
from a suspected pirate skiff and returned fire before
commencing pursuit of the vessel until the disabled skiff
stopped," the statement said.
"At 1:59 am personnel from Nicholas boarded the disabled
skiff and detained three personnel. The boarding team found
ammunition and multiple cans of fuel on board."
After taking the suspected pirates on board, the Nicholas
sank the disabled skiff and captured two additional suspected
pirates on the confiscated mother ship.
"The suspected pirates will remain in US custody on board
Nicholas until a determination is made regarding their
disposition," the statement said.
The lifting of the winter monsoon in the region has
spurred a fresh spate of attacks by pirates able to venture
hundreds of miles from their bases and approach their prey on
relatively calm seas.
The Seychelles economy relies heavily on tuna fishing and
tourism and the country has had several ships hijacked since
In a separate incident, six Seychellois fishermen rescued
from Somali pirates were returned home Wednesday after three
days of high-seas drama which saw the Seychelles coastguard
sink several pirate boats.