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EU Naval Forces Capture 13 Suspected Pirates Off Oman Coast

Thirteen suspected pirates have been captured off the coast of Oman following a failed attempt to hijack an Antigua and Barbuda-flagged cargo ship, the EU naval mission said in a statement on Thursday.

According to the EU mission, pirates attacked MV BBC Togo on Wednesday afternoon using two motor boats. However, the hijacking attempt failed after the barbed wire defenses of the cargo ship prevented the pirates from boarding the vessel forcefully.

The suspected pirates were captured later by a Dutch warship in the Gulf of Aden, some 150 miles south of Oman's port city of Salalah. The crew of the Dutch warship reportedly recovered ladders, grappling hooks, automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades from the detained pirates.

The Somali coast, particularity the Gulf of Aden, has been affected by piracy in the recent years. More than 160 pirate attacks have been reported in the waters off Somalia from January to September this year. The Somali pirates have managed to hijack at least 34 vessels, and are currently holding some 10 ships and 200 hostages. Generally, the crew and the vessels are returned unharmed on receiving the demanded ransom.

The pirate attacks off the Somali coast have continued despite the presence of several warships, deployed by navies of the NATO, the European Union, Russia, China, South Korea and India, in the region to protect cargo and cruise ships against piracy in the region.

In addition, the UN Security Council has approved four resolutions since June to promote international efforts to fight the escalating piracy problem off the coast of Somalia, and has authorized countries engaged in anti-piracy operations off the Somali coast to conduct land and air attacks on Somali pirates after obtaining prior permission from the Somali government.

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