DUBAI (Reuters) – United Arab Emirates special forces stormed a cargo ship hijacked in the Arabian Sea, freeing the crew and detaining the pirates on Saturday, the official news agency WAM said.
Anti-terrorism forces acting in coordination with the U.S. Fifth Fleet were involved in the operation, which led to the surrender of the pirates, the agency said.
“Arrilah 1 with all its crew is now heading toward the UAE coast, and the pirates are held under guard and will be handed over to the Interior Ministry,” a UAE military official said.
The 37,000-tonne bulk carrier had been sailing from Australia to Jebel Ali, in the emirate of Dubai, when it was attacked by pirates early on Friday.
The vessel was operated by shipping arms of the government-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC).
The UAE, the world’s third largest oil exporter, includes the emirate of Dubai.
Somalia has lacked an effective central government for two decades and is awash with weapons. The chaos on land has allowed piracy to boom in the strategic waterways off its shores linking Europe to Asia and Africa.
Despite successful efforts to stem attacks in the Gulf of Aden, international navies have been unable to contain piracy in the Indian Ocean owing to the vast distances involved, and the mostly Somali pirate gangs are making tens of millions of dollars in ransoms.