Eleven suspected pirates from Somalia have been charged in the United States with engaging in piracy and related offenses involving attacks on two U.S. Navy ships, the Justice Department said on Friday.
It said the suspects were expected to appear in federal court in Norfolk, Virginia, later on Friday. The 11 men previously had been held on U.S. ships for weeks off Somalia's coast as Obama administration officials decided what to do with them.
It was not the first time an accused Somali pirate has been sent to the United States to face criminal charges. Last year, a teenager from Somalia was extradited to New York to face charges he attempted to hijack a U.S. ship in the Indian Ocean.
Pirates operating off the coast of Somalia have stepped up hijacking attacks on vessels in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden in recent months, making tens of millions of dollars in ransoms by seizing ships, including tankers, despite the presence of dozens of foreign naval vessels.
On any given day, between 30 and 40 international ships are involved in anti-piracy efforts in the Somali basin and the western Indian Ocean. That includes five to 10 American vessels.
ReutersLast Mod: 23 Nisan 2010, 20:04