British Navy Arrests 7 Suspected Pirates off Somali Coast

Posted December 2nd, 2011 at 5:05 am (UTC-5)
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British authorities said Thursday they have arrested seven suspected pirates following a helicopter-led pursuit by the British Navy in the Indian Ocean.

The chase began off the coast of Somalia when Royal Marines aboard the RFA Fort Victoria were alerted to two vessels allegedly attempting an act of piracy against a Spanish ship that supplies the Seychelles tuna fleet.

When one of the suspected pirate boats fled, a British helicopter fired warning shots ahead of the vessel, forcing it to stop.

Britain's Foreign Office said that a specially trained police dog team was able to detect traces of explosives and firearms on the vessel – evidence it says could help convict the men.

The Foreign Office says it is often difficult to acquire sufficient evidence to convict pirates, who frequently toss weapons overboard and claim to be fishermen.

Prosecutors in the Seychelles have agreed to try the suspects.