By Africa Correspondent Andrew Geoghegan
Posted 39 minutes ago
The French navy has captured 11 pirates off the coast of Somalia as part of a European Union operation to protect shipping around the Horn of Africa.
It is believed the pirates mistook a French frigate for a commercial ship and attempted to seize it about 1,000 kilometres off the Somali coast.
Two pirate assault boats approached the frigate Nivose at high speed, but they were intercepted by a French naval helicopter which fired warning shots.
The pirates have been taken in by the French for questioning.
The Nivose has succeeded in apprehending 24 suspected pirates in the past three weeks as part of a European Union operation designed to eliminate the threat piracy poses to commercial shipping off Somalia.
At least 18 commercial ships are being held for ransom by Somali pirates.
Naval forces from the United States, Europe and Asia have been deployed to protect merchant ships.
TWO Australian warships have rushed to the aid of a freighter under attack in the Gulf of Aden from pirates firing rocket propelled grenades and attempting to board the vessel by force.
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