A French warship on Sunday foiled attacks by Somali pirates on two commercial vessels in the Gulf of Aden, the French president's office said.
Patrolling off the Somali coast, the French warship "Jean de Vienne" captured 19 Somali pirates when they tried to seize a Croatian freighter and a Panamanian cargo ship. They will be transferred to Somali authorities, said the French president's office in a statement.
The waters off Somalia have become a hotspot for piracy in recent years. More than 100 attacks by pirates in the area were recorded in 2008 alone.
The European Union has set up an anti-piracy naval operation to protect commercial vessels passing through the Gulf of Aden. Other countries, such as India, Iran, the US and China have also sent forces to the area.