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India’s navy and coast guard have captured 16 Somali pirates after a three-hour-long battle in the Arabian Sea, a navy spokesman said Monday.

Also, 16 crew members who had been taken hostage by the pirates were rescued from the hijacked Iranian trawler off India’s western Lakshadweep islands on Sunday, Captain Manohar Nambiar said.
The pirates were using the trawler as a roving pirate base to launch attacks on passing vessels in the Indian Ocean, he said.

The pirates were trying to seize a merchant ship, MV Maersk Kensington, when a coast guard vessel and an Indian naval ship picked up its distress signals and went to its aid.

The pirates opened fire at the coast guard ship as it drew near, triggering a battle during which the pirate trawler caught fire. The pirates and the hostages, picked up from the sea by the navy ship, were headed for Mumbai.

Source: The Associated Press

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