Denmark Releases 3 Suspected Pirates in Dinghy in Gulf of Guinea

Danish Armed Forces spokespeople reported that 3 suspected pirates who were detained for about 6 weeks aboard the frigate HDMS Esbern Snare were released at sea in a small dinghy off the coast of West Africa. The suspects were released near Nigerian waters, and were provided enough food, supplies, water, and fuel to get to shore. The decision was made after the Danish military failed to find a country in the region that could take the suspected pirates.  


On November 24th, 2021, 8 suspected pirates engaged in a shootout with Danish military forces on a container ship. 4 of the attackers were killed in the firefight and 4 others were detained. Danish military sources claim that the alleged pirates opened fire first, a claim that the suspects deny. One of the injured suspects was initially transported to Ghana where his leg was amputated, and has now been transferred to Denmark to face a charge of attempted manslaughter. Danish courts believed that the suspect could not be safely released at sea due to his injuries, but also dropped the charges against the other 3 suspects.


Birgitte Skjodt, the lawyer of the detained suspect, criticized the pressing of charges on the suspect detained in Denmark, saying to media groups that “it simply cannot be right to treat the four people so unequally.” Meanwhile, Justice Minister Nick Haekkerup defended the decision, saying that it could help deter future pirate attacks.


NOTE: The first image of the HDMS Esbern Snare was retrieved from It was originally posted on June 4th, 2010, and may be used for any purpose including redistribution, derivative work, and commercial use without notifying the authors. The other images used in this article were retrieved from the public domain, and do not require attribution or citation for commercial purposes. 

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