A NATO operation led by the U.S. and the U.K. freed an Italian ship off Somalia, rescuing its crew and capturing 11 pirates who hijacked it yesterday, the Italian Foreign Ministry said.
NATO forces under the command of Italian Admiral Gualtiero Mattesi stormed the ship and freed its 23 crew members, who hail from Italy, Ukraine and India, the ministry said in an e-mailed statement from Rome. The crew “managed, despite the dramatic circumstances, to steer the ship toward the International Traffic Recognized Corridor,” the ministry said.
The ship, called the Montecristo, was carrying scrap iron from Liverpool, England, to Vietnam when it was hijacked about 620 miles (1,000 kilometers) east of the Somali coast, the shipping company D’Alesio Group said yesterday. A Japanese military escort accompanied it through the Gulf of Aden, and the ship was attacked after the escort had left, a spokesman for D’Alesio said.
The Savina Caylyn, an Italian-flagged oil tanker, and the Rosalia D’Amato, another Italian ship, were hijacked in the same region by pirates on Feb. 8 and April 21 respectively. Neither has yet been released.
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