Suspected pirates turned over to Yemen

Other News Materials 6 December 2008 01:12 (UTC +04:00)

Seven suspected pirates were in the custody of Yemeni authorities early Friday, after they were picked up in the pirate-plagued Gulf of Aden, CNN reported.

International warships are now patrolling a vast area off the horn of Africa.

The Royal Danish Navy said one of its warships, the HDMS Absalon, rescued the seven men Wednesday after they were found in a powerless skiff with rocket-propelled grenades and AK-47s aboard, navy spokesman Jesper Lynge told CNN.

They were found approximately 75 nautical miles (140 kilometers) off the coast of Yemen after a distress call, Lynge said.

A reporter on board the HDMS Absalon, Rasmus Tantholt, who works for Denmark's TV2, did not dispute the Danish navy's account.

Video from TV2 showing the rescue of the suspected pirates clearly supports the Danish explanation.

However, a Yemeni Interior Ministry official offered a different account of events, saying its coast guard rescued the suspected pirates Friday. The official said a coast guard patrol had detected a boat near a port near Balhaf, Yemen, and, believing its activity to be suspicious, chased it down.

The coast guard exchanged fire with the men on board the boat, the official said, and the Somali boat overturned.

The official said the coast guard rescued the men and took them into custody. Interrogation of the men led officials to suspect that they are Somali pirates.