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Portuguese warship captures eight Somali pirates

A PORTUGUESE warship today captured eight Somali pirates involved in an attack on a boxship and then let them go again. A spokeswoman for the Marinha Portuguesa confirmed that weapons were confiscated as a result of the incident. Frigate Corte Real, operating as part of NATO forces in the region, was escorting 1980-built, 18,144 dwt Pakistan-flag general cargoship Bolan, when it received a distress call from the 2005-built, 109,571 dwt product tanker Maersk Phoenix. According to a journalist with Brazil’s Lusa news agency on board Corte Real, the frigate fired several shots across the bow of a pirate boat, causing the pirates to surrender. A boarding party of Portuguese marines confiscated four Kalashnikov AK-47 assault rifles, a grenade-launcher, grenades and explosives. However, in line with the policy of vessels serving under NATO command, the suspects were released after questioning.

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