UK & World News
Suspected Pirates' Gun Battle With Nato Boat
Pictures have been released of a fierce gun battle between a Nato warship and a pirate boat in one of the world's most dangerous shipping lanes.
The HNLMS Rotterdam was carrying out routine patrols when it spotted a fishing vessel close to the Somali shoreline.
Because the boats are often used as "mother ships" for pirate crews, a boarding team was sent out to inspect it.
However the Dutch sailors were fired on from the shoreline, and by people on board the vessel.
The Nato team returned fire, killing one man, and the vessel ignited.
The 25 men who remained on board jumped into the water to escape the blaze, and were picked up by the Rotterdam's crew.
They received medical treatment and are now being held by Nato.
"In this instance the pirates openly chose confrontation. This does not happen often and it indicates that we are indeed impeding their operations and in doing so, pushing them to take more extreme options," said Commodore Ben Bekkering, commander of the Nato task force.
"It is obvious that the scourge of piracy has not gone away and we need to maintain our vigilance."
Somali pirate activity usually decreases during the monsoon period that has just ended, but the drop this year has been especially steep.
Only 35 vessels have been attacked so far in 2012 and only five vessels have been seized by pirates. In 2010 pirates launched 174 attacks and seized 47 vessels.