ISLAMABAD, Jan 12: Nine Pakistani sailors along with five Iranians were rescued by a Danish Navy vessel off the coast of Somalia, said a statement issued by the Danish Embassy in Islamabad on Thursday.

The crew of Pakistani and Iranian nationals on-board the Iranian flagcarrier had been held hostage by 25 suspected pirates since November last year. The vessel was hijacked between 7 and 10 November.

The statement added that no one was injured during the rescue operation.

It appeared that the hostages were subjected to rough treatment by thepirates but, bearing in mind the circumstances, all are now in good shape.

The Danish Navy vessel, 'Absalon' which was engaged in the anti-piracy 'Operation Ocean Shield' of Nato took control of the hijacked Iranian fishing vessel 'Taheri' after intercepting the ship and conducting helicopter surveillance.

The Danish naval vessel had received information from the Navy Operational Command, who had reported the suspected pirate ship.

After applying warning shots and tear gas, the vessel was quickly brought to a halt, and the NavyMaritime Action Team took control of the ship.

'We are extremely glad to know that innocent people have been liberated. One cannot even imagine what ordeal these innocent sailors must have been through while trying to do their best to earn a living', said the Danish Ambassador to Pakistan, Uffe Wolffhechel in a statement while releasing information about the operation.

He said that last year, Somali pirates have been responsible for numerous kidnapping cases of official crew members from companies around the world, including several Pakistani nationals. 'Their criminalactivities have become of high concern among international community and requires concerted, global action against piracy on the high seas', said the ambassador.

The crew of the Danish Navy vessel has since the action been on-board on the Iranian fishing vessel and has informed that the ship is in good condition.

It is expected that all the 14 rescued crew members will return to Iran with the vessel.

In April 2011, another Danish Navy vessel, 'Esbern Snare' rescued 16 Pakistanis, who had been kept hostage by Somali pirates for several months.

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