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Australian naval force nabs 9 suspected pirates

Sunday - 10/20/2013, 9:20am  ET

MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) -- A counter-piracy international naval task force says an Australian naval team in the Indian Ocean has captured nine suspected pirates sought after attacks on a supertanker and a fishing vessel last week.

Sunday's statement from the Bahrain-based Combined Task Force 151 said the suspected pirate skiffs were spotted about 500 nautical miles (925 kilometers) off the coast of Somalia. A team from the guided missile frigate HMAS Melbourne boarded the boats Oct. 15 and took nine suspected pirates into custody.

The pirates are believed to have carried out attacks on a Hong Kong-flagged supertanker and Spanish fishing vessels.

Pirate attacks have dropped in recent years off the Horn of Africa with the increase of surveillance and protection from a 29-nation naval force.

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