|Royal Navy Photo by LA(Phot) Dave Jenkins|
The Royal Navy has detained seven suspected pirates in the Indian Ocean, the Ministry of Defence said today.More at the Royal Navy News site here.
On Monday the supply ship, patrolling about 420 nautical miles from the Seychelles, received information that a Spanish fishing vessel had come under attack from a group of pirate vessels.
"The ship's Lynx helicopter was quickly despatched to investigate," the spokesman said.
"Once at the scene, the helicopter identified two suspect vessels, a whaler and a skiff, in the vicinity of the fishing vessel.
"The faster of the two, a skiff, sped away at over 25 knots as the helicopter gave chase.
"When the skiff ignored orders to stop, a specially trained sniper on board the Lynx helicopter fired warning shots ahead of the fleeing vessel which stopped and the suspected pirates on board were then taken to Fort Victoria via boat.
"Fort Victoria's Royal Marines boarding team then boarded the whaler and another skiff in the vicinity. As a result of the day's action, a total of seven suspected pirates were held on board Fort Victoria along with their whaler as evidence, with no injuries being sustained by either side."
The Foreign Office (FCO) said that a UK-trained police dog team had today gathered vital evidence to help prosecute the suspected pirates.
A spokeswoman said the dogs and their handlers were trained by the Surrey Police dog handling team as part of a Foreign Office and United Nations (UN) funded project to tackle piracy.
She said: "Providing sufficient evidence to convict pirates has been a real problem for the international community as pirates often throw their weapons overboard and claim to be fishermen.
"However, the dog handling team is able to search the suspected pirate vessel for traces of explosives and firearms.
"Rocket propelled grenades are a weapon of choice for the pirates, but even if they are disposed of in the sea they leave explosive residue that the dogs can identify.
"Today's search by Diesel (a spaniel) and Millie (a labrador) indicated that the suspected pirates' vessel may contain traces of explosives or firearms.
"This evidence will be passed to the Seychelles prosecutor who will conduct further investigations.
"The seven suspected pirates are alleged to have been involved in an attempted act of piracy on a vessel that supplies the Seychelles tuna fleet."