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German frigate stops pirate attack

  • Story Highlights
  • German government later ordered pirates released, according to BBC report
  • Japan was considering sending vessels, a top official said Wednesday
  • Waters off Somalia is a key shipping route that sees 20,000 vessels each year
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(CNN) -- German sailors foiled an attempt by pirates to hijack an Egyptian cargo ship off the coast of Yemen, the German Defense Ministry said.

Pirates like these threaten the Somalian coast.

Pirates like these threaten the Somalian coast.

The German navy frigate Karlsruhe responded to an emergency call from the Wabi Al Arab Thursday morning, sending helicopters to the stricken vessel. When the helicopters arrived, the pirates broke off the attack, the ministry said.

A crew member on the Wabi Al Arab was wounded when the pirates attempted to board the vessel. He was flown by helicopter for treatment aboard the Karlsruhe, the ministry said.

The German sailors captured the pirates and disarmed them, destroying the weapons, the ministry said.

The German government in Berlin later ordered the Somali pirates released because they were not caught while harassing German interests, according to BBC.

The Karlsruhe joined the fight against the pirates on Tuesday from Djibouti, the defense ministry said.

On Wednesday a top Japanese official said the country was considering sending vessels to join U.S., Russian, NATO and Indian vessels in the waters off Somalia, a key shipping route that sees around 20,000 oil tankers, freighters and merchant vessels each year.

China said Tuesday that two destroyers and a supply ship from its navy would set sail for the region on Friday to protect Chinese merchant ships. Video Watch why China's dispatch of forces is significant »

The U.N. Security Council passed a resolution last week aimed at combating piracy along the Horn of Africa by allowing military forces to chase pirate onto land in cases of "hot pursuit."

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The Security Council resolution, which passed unanimously, expands upon existing counter-piracy tools, including a stipulation that would allow for national and regional military forces to chase pirates onto land -- specifically into Somalia, where many of the pirates have their bases.

Over 124 incidents -- attempted attacks, averted attacks and successful hijackings -- have been recorded to date this year, according to Kenyan Seafarers Association.

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