Malaysia holds 7 Somali pirates after saving ship

January 22, 2011 06:13

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Malaysia's  navy was holding seven Somali pirates Saturday after thwarting an attempt to hijack a chemical tanker in the Gulf of Aden, authorities said.

The Royal Malaysian Navy said its commandos injured three pirates in a gunbattle and rescued the 23 crew members of the Malaysian-flagged MT Bunga Laurel early Friday, less than two hours after the assailants stormed the vessel with pistols and assault rifles.The navy sent a ship and a helicopter, which were then 14 miles (22 kilometers) from the Bunga Laurel, after crew members locked themselves in a safe room and activated a distress call, it said in a statement late Friday.

Elite security forces managed to board the ship and overpower the pirates after an exchange of gunfire, the statement said. No one among the rescue team or Bunga Laurel's crew was injured.

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