Australian naval force catches 9 suspected pirates after Indian Ocean attacks

A counter-piracy international naval task force says an Australian naval team in the Indian Ocean has captured nine suspected pirates sought after attacks on a supertanker and a fishing vessel last week.

Sunday's statement from the Bahrain-based Combined Task Force 151 said the suspected pirate skiffs were spotted about 500 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia. A team from the guided missile frigate HMAS Melbourne boarded the boats Oct. 15 and took nine suspected pirates into custody.

The pirates are believed to have carried out attacks on a Hong Kong-flagged supertanker and Spanish fishing vessels.

Pirate attacks have dropped in recent years off the Horn of Africa with the increase of surveillance and protection from a 29-nation naval force.