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Rescued Sri Lankan fishermen return home

04-26-2012 15:48 BJT

COLOMBO, April 26 (Xinhua) -- Six Sri Lankan fishermen who were kidnapped by Somali pirates last year, returned to the island on Thursday, the Sri Lankan Fisheries Department said.

Spokesman of the department Lal De Silva told Xinhua that the fishermen were in good health and will be reunited with their families.

Statements were recorded from the fishermen at the Colombo airport on their ordeal at the hands of the Somali pirates before they were handed over to officials from the Fisheries Department.

The fishermen had set sail from Negombo just outside Colombo in September last year and were kidnapped by the Somali pirates in October together with their vessel.

Last week, a Spanish warship ESPS "Infanta Elena" rescued the Sri Lankan fishermen and their fishing vessel from seven suspected pirates.

The Sri Lankan fishing vessel was reportedly being used as a mother-ship to launch attacks against merchant shipping in the region, the EU office in Colombo said.

ESPS Infanta Elena had identified the pirated vessel and closed in its position, 50 miles off the coast of Tanzania.

The rescued fishermen received much needed medical care and were provided food and water while the suspect pirates were arrested by Tanzanian maritime forces.

The Sri Lankan fishermen were handed over to Tanzanian maritime forces and the European Union via its delegation in Tanzania that helped to ensure that the crew could quickly make contact with their families.

The EU office in Colombo meanwhile said that as there is currently no agreement on the transfer of suspect pirates between the European Union and Tanzania, the suspect pirates were released by ESPS Infanta Elena to the Somali coast this week.

Editor:Wang Lingfei |Source: Xinhua

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