Australian navy rescues Somali pirate hostages

The Australian navy said on Thursday it had rescued three sailors being held hostage by Somali pirates off the Horn of Africa.

Crew from HMAS Stuart boarded a Yemeni-flagged boat that was attacked and seized 20 days ago and 15 pirates surrendered with no shots fired.

Stuart‘s boarding party did extremely well in maintaining the safety of the dhow’s crew and ensuring a potentially challenging situation did not escalate,” said chief of joint operations Lieutenant General Evans.

During a search of the boat, 11 AK-47 assault rifles with 16 magazines were found, along with a large quantity of small arms ammunition and a rocket-propelled grenade launcher.

The pirates were released in a skiff after being given adequate water, food, fuel and communication equipment to make the nearest landfall off the Somalia coast, added the Australian Defence Force in a statement.

HMAS Stuart is deployed to the Middle East, conducting maritime security, counter-terrorism and counter-piracy operations with the Combined Maritime Forces. — Sapa-AFP

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