Royal Navy rescues vessel from pirates

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The Independent Online

A Royal Navy warship has secured the safe release of 15 people from a vessel hijacked by Somali pirates.

HMS Chatham was involved in a three-day pursuit before the dhow, Vishvakalyan, ran out of fuel. The pirates, armed with rocket-propelled grenades and AK47 rifles, fled in a skiff after leaving the dhow east of the Gulf of Aden.

A Nato spokesman said the Indian crew were unharmed and added that the operation, launched on 6 April, was overseen by Royal Marines marksmen.

HMS Chatham's Commander Simon Huntington said: "We have actively disrupted a group of pirates who had hijacked this dhow, taking the crew hostage, and they were obviously intent on seizing a larger merchant vessel and its crew, for criminal means... What is most rewarding, is that we have secured the release of this dhow and her crew unharmed and without the need for an escalation in violence."

In October, Somali pirates captured Paul and Rachel Chandler, from Tunbridge Wells, Kent, off the Seychelles. A Foreign Office spokeswoman said British officials were continuing to pursue diplomatic routes to secure the Chandlers' release.

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