The ten Somali pirates who were arrested last week by sailors from the Dutch frigate HNLMS Tromp have arrived in the Netherlands. They were flown to Eindhoven in an air force plane from Djibouti.
The pirates hijacked a German merchant ship off the Somali coast on Monday of last week. The Dutch sailors managed to detain them after a gun battle. None of the ship's crew was hurt in the fighting. The German government plans to prosecute the pirates, who will remain in custody in the Netherlands until they can be extradited to Germany.
The HNLMS Johan de Witt, the Dutch navy's largest transport ship, is sailing to Somali waters to join the European anti-piracy mission on Saturday. It will replace HNLMS Tromp, which should be back home in the Netherlands on 30 April.
The European Union's Operation Atalanta is designed to protect cargo and food aid vessels from pirates operating out of Somalia. It acts as a deterrent, disrupting the pirates' operations. However, on prior occasions, the Dutch navy has been forced to release captured pirates because no country could be found to try them.
Dutch caretaker Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen and caretaker Defence Minister Eimert van Middelkoop have expressed gratification at the German decision to prosecute the pirates.
© Radio Netherlands Worldwide