NATO Thwarts Pirate Attack on Norwegian Ship

7-hour ordeal highlights difficulty in bringing pirates to justice
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 19, 2009 11:04 AM CDT
This file photo taken Sunday, Jan. 4, 2009 shows suspected pirates arrested by marine commandos of the French navy in the Gulf of Aden, off Somalia coasts.   (AP Photo/French Navy-French Defense Ministry,HO)
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(Newser) – NATO forces prevented Somali pirates from capturing a Norwegian tanker during a dramatic 7-hour battle, USA Today reports. Seven pirates attacked the ship but backed off after crewmembers fired warning shots at their skiff. NATO troops were forced to release the pirates after seizing their weapons because of legal and logistical hurdles involved in trying to prosecute them.

“When a ship is part of NATO, the detention of person is a matter for the national authorities,” explained one officer. “It stops being a NATO issue and starts being a national issue.” Pirates have attacked more than 80 boats so far this year and have seized at least 18.