Pirates freed by navy warship

HMS CORNWALL patrolling in the North Arabian Gulf between KAAOT and ABOT oil platforms during operations being undertaken by CTF 158. ''Photographer: LA (Phot) Jannine B Hartmann
HMS CORNWALL patrolling in the North Arabian Gulf between KAAOT and ABOT oil platforms during operations being undertaken by CTF 158. ''Photographer: LA (Phot) Jannine B Hartmann
British military dog Mali who has received the PDSA Dickin Medal, the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross with his current handler Corporal Daniel Hatley

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Somali pirates were treated to halal meals and one was given a nicotine patch before they were dropped off home by a Royal Navy warship, it has been revealed.

In February, the crew of the frigate HMS Cornwall seized 17 pirates and freed five hostages after storming a fishing boat in the Indian Ocean.

But international rules of engagement mean the suspects cannot be arrested and put on trial.

Instead, the suspects were taken to Somalia and released.

The pirates were all given medical checks and one was given a nicotine patch because of a ‘medical condition’ according to a BBC Radio 4 programme The Sea Gangsters which is due to be broadcast at 8pm tonight.

The programme claims many in the shipping community insist the government is not acting quickly enough to stem the rise of gangs which are thought to be costing their industry around £7billion a year.