Danish crew free Somali pirate hostages
Copenhagen: A Danish warship attacked a pirate boat off Somalia, killing four pirates and freeing 16 Iranian hostages on board, Denmark's navy said Sunday.
Ten other pirates were also wounded during gun battles between the Danish vessel Esbern Snare and the pirate "mother-ship" off Somalia on Thursday morning.
"The 16 hostages are waiting to see their families," the navy said in statement.
"None of them and no one among the crew of the Esbern Snare was wounded," it said.
"The four pirates who were killed were buried at sea in accordance with NATO procedures and Muslim tradition."
"All the hostages are doing well given the circumstances," Kenneth Nielsen, the navy's chief of staff spokesman, told TV2 News.
The 24 captured pirates are still on board the warship as Danish authorities consider criminal proceedings.
"During a patrol along the Somali coast on the morning of Thursday May 12, the Esbern Snare was approached by a pirate mother ship," the navy said in its account.
"When the Esbern Snare tried to stop the boat using loudspeaker, it opened fire, which was immediately returned.
"Shortly after the exchange of fire, several weapons were thrown overboard and there were signs of surrender.
"The Esbern Snare then took control of the boat."
Pirates continue to take boat crews hostage and demand ransoms off the Somali coast despite an international military presence in the waters.
In particular, navy ships under NATO command are targeting mother ships - boats that have been captured by pirates and are used to launch attacks on others. Around 10 have been seized or sunk since the beginning of April.