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India captures 61 suspected Somali pirates

By Harmeet Shah Singh, CNN
Suspected Somali pirates sit onboard an Indian coast guard ship off the coast of Mumbai on February 10.
Suspected Somali pirates sit onboard an Indian coast guard ship off the coast of Mumbai on February 10.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Pirates had hijacked the fishing vessel in December
  • They had been using it as their mother vessel since then, the navy says
  • The pirates are captured after a gunfire exchange
  • Military officials call it their greatest success in a single anti-piracy operation
RELATED TOPICS
  • India
  • Somali Pirates

New Delhi, India (CNN) -- Indian naval patrols captured 61 suspected Somali pirates and rescued 13 crew from a hijacked fishing vessel after a crossfire in the Arabian Sea over the weekend, authorities said Monday.

The Indian navy said pirates seized the Mozambique-flagged Vega 5 in December and have since been using it as their mother vessel.

A navy aircraft spotted the ship in the Arabian Sea after pirates onboard tried to hijack another vessel Friday, the Indian military said.

After the two sides exchanged gunfire, Indian patrols captured 61 armed pirates who, according to navy spokesman P.V.S. Satish, were suspected to be Somalis.

"This vessel (Vega 5) had been a risk to international shipping for last four months and has carried out several attacks," a navy statement said.

Indian military officials hailed the weekend operation, 600 nautical-miles west of their country, as their greatest success in a single anti-piracy operation.

Earlier this year, Indian naval forces captured 43 suspected pirates in two separate events in the Arabian Sea.

 
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