A surveillance helicopter from the warship HDMS Esbern Snare spotted a suspicious “mother ship” when patrolling waters off Somalia’s east coast on Friday morning. It fired warning shots to force the ship to stop, Xinhua reported.
According to a statement released by the Danish Navy Sunday, an inspection team from the Esbern Snare found “rockets, automatic rifles,ammunition, a large quantity of fuel, and two fast-moving boats (so-called skiffs), which are used as attack vessels by pirates.”
The team also found 16 Somali crew members, and two Yemeni nationals who were thought to have been captured from a Yemeni fishing boat a year ago.
The Esbern Snare is part of a NATO counter-piracy mission responsible for protecting commercial ships in the Gulf of Aden since 2008.
The navy said the 16 suspected pirates were landed on Somalia’s coast Sunday night as there was insufficient evidence to prosecute them.
“The Danish task force on prosecution has considered all possibilities for prosecution and concluded that there are no grounds for that,” the statement noted.
The Yemenis are on the warship and the Danish side considers to return them to their homeland.