French warship captures Somali pirates

A French warship captured 19 Somali pirates on Sunday when it came to the rescue of two cargo ships...

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A French warship captured 19 Somali pirates on Sunday when it came to the rescue of two cargo ships threatened in the <?xml:namespace prefix="st1" ns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags"?><place w:st="on">Gulf of Aden, the office of French President Nicolas Sarkozy said.<?xml:namespace prefix="o" ns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office"?>

The French naval vessel Jean de Vienne was on patrol off the Somali coast as part of a European Union anti-piracy force when it came to the rescue of a Croatian cargo vessel and a Panamanian ship crossing the <place w:st="on">Gulf of Aden.

The pirates, armed and equipped to board the vessels, were captured and handed over to Somali authorities.

Piracy off <country-region w:st="on"><place w:st="on">Somalia’s coast</country-region>, one of the world’s busiest shipping areas, soared over the past year earning the pirates millions of dollars of ransom payments and pushing up maritime insurance rates.

The European Union set up an anti-piracy naval task force under British command last month involving warships and aircraft from several nations in the first such naval operation of its kind.