NATO stops attack by Somali pirates

A Canadian warship and NATO helicopters foiled a pirate attack on a Norwegian tanker on Sunday, says the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

American forces also pursued pirates who fired rocket-propelled grenades at the 80,000-tonne MV Front Ardenne, reports BBC.

The Canadians already freed the pirates they captured, because they could not be prosecuted under Canadian law. This comes one day after Dutch commandos serving with NATO freed 20 pirate captives from Yemen. In fact, as the Monitor wrote recently, because of the difficulty of bringing them to justice, most countries just release captured pirates.

In another incident on Saturday, Somali pirates seized a Belgian ship and its 10 crew, including seven Europeans.

Western security forces have stepped up their anti-piracy operations near Somalia in recent days, as displayed by last week's dramatic rescue of captured American ship captain Richard Phillips. US Navy Seal snipers shot and killed pirates holding Mr. Phillips in a lifeboat five days after Phillips had given himself up as a hostage so his 19-member crew could be freed.

Phillips returned to a hero's welcome in Burlington, Vt. Friday.

More than 80 vessels have been attacked off Somalia's coast this year, 19 of them seized with the help of rocket launchers and automatic weapons, according to the International Maritime Bureau.

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