In a dramatic raid, British special forces on Tuesday stormed an Italian cargo ship hijacked by 11 Somali pirates and freed 23 crew members, including 10 Indians.
The 56,000-tonne bulk carrier ‘Montecristo’ was hijacked some 600 miles off Somalia on Monday by five pirates in a small boat, according to the ship owners, the D’Alessio group.
Media reports said the ship came under attack as soon as it left its escort, a Japanese naval vessel, and entered the Indian Ocean.
The raid was confirmed by an Italian defence ministry spokesperson. All 11 pirates were arrested, Italian news agency ANSA said quoting sources.
The vessel departed Liverpool in the UK on September 10 with a cargo of scrap iron bound for Vietnam.
The pirates struck even as an Indian naval warship patrolled the Gulf of Aden as part of anti-piracy efforts initiated in October 2008.
The Gulf of Aden, which links the Indian Ocean with the Suez Canal and Mediterranean Sea, is the quickest route for more than 20,000 vessels that journey annually between Asia, Europe and the Americas.
A spokesperson for the external affairs ministry said, “The director general of shipping is monitoring the situation.”