afrol News, 20 November - The Seychelles Coast Guard today rescued 7 Seychellois fishermen from the hands of Somali pirates in an operation coordinated with European anti-piracy navy and air units.
The piracy incident took place yesterday in the Seychelles exclusive economic zone. The vessel 'Faith', a 33-foot fishing vessel, was hijacked by Somali pirates and was detected approximately 240 nautical miles north of Seychelles' main populated island Mahé by three surveillance planes.
The Seychelles People's Defense Forces maritime surveillance aircraft, in a joint operation with the EUNAVFOR Luxembourg maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft as well as the French E3F aircraft, detected the boat and the presence of pirates onboard.
The Somali pirates had taken hostage 7 Seychellois crew members who had been fishing for sea cucumbers in the area.
The pirates headed north-west towards Somalia and "the Seychelles Coast Guard intercepted the boat half way between Somalia and Seychelles," according to a statement by the Seychellois presidency, forwarded to afrol News. The hostages were rescued and the pirates were arrested.
The Seychelles Coast Guard vessels 'Topaz' and 'Andromache' were involved in the opertion, according to the presidency.
s is the second time the Seychelles Coast Guard has mounted a successful resuce operation against Somali pirates and rescued Seychellois fishermen who were taken hostage. The first was on 29 March this year, when 6 crew members of the 'Galate' fishing vessel were rescued , together with 21 Iranian men.
Seychelles President James Michel, who is the Commander in Chief of the armed forces, this afternoon sent a message of congratulations to the officers of the coast guard, its airwing and the Tazar unit for their successful rescue operation today.
"We are very proud of you and your bravery in rescuing the 7 Seychellois fishermen from the hands of Somali pirates. It was a targeted operation and once again you have proved your skill and capability to defend the nation and fight against the piracy scourge," said President Michel.
"We rejoice with the families of the 7 fishermen, in their freedom, and thank the Seychelles Coast Guard and the Tazar unit for liberating them. We all look forward to their safe return to Mahé," the presidential message concluded.
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