EU naval force frees 18 pirates after unsuccessful prosecution

17:48, April 21, 2011      

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European Union Naval Force said Thursday it has released 18 suspected Somali pirates that it had detained since April 6 after prosecution attempts proved unsuccessful.

EU Naval Force spokesman Paddy O'Kennedy said the pirates were released on Thursday after requests to a number of states, who were considered to have an interest in the case, proved to be unsuccessful.

"EU NAVFOR released 18 suspected pirates that had been detained by the EU NAVFOR Finnish warship FNS Pohjanmaa since the April 6," O'Kennedy said.

"The States either decided not to prosecute or could not provide intent to prosecute within the required timescale," he said.

The suspected pirates were detained after allegedly attacking the Singapore-flagged vessel MV Pacific Opal on April 5. The pirates were returned to Somalia early on Thursday.

Since the beginning of the operation in December 2008, EU Naval Force has disrupted more than 80 Pirate Action Groups.

The Gulf of Aden, a body of water between Somalia and Yemen, is the main sea route between Europe and Asia.

Tankers carrying Middle East oil through the Suez Canal must pass first through the Gulf of Aden. About 4 percent of the world's daily oil supply is shipped through the gulf.

The attacks are being carried out by increasingly well- coordinated Somali gangs armed with automatic weapons and rocket- propelled grenades, maritime officials said. The Horn of Africa nation has been without a functioning government since 1991, and remains one of the world's most violent and lawless countries.

Source: Xinhua
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