'Vega V' retaken by Indian Navy but Spaniards being held on land

Pair not on board during raid, but described as being "well" by foreign minister

The operation was so fraught with risk that government sources later said it was better the two Galician sailors kidnapped when the Vega V fell into pirate hands last December 28 were not aboard when the Indian Navy retook the vessel. Government sources and the Pescamar company, which owns the Vega V, confirmed they are being held on land.

Foreign Minister Trinidad Jiménez said from Damascus on Monday that the two "are well."

The operation began on Saturday, when an Indian Defense Ministry aircraft responded to a call from the Vancouver Bridge, which was under attack by pirates aboard the Vega V. According to the Indian government, the pirates had been using the ship to launch attacks in the Indian Ocean. "The Vega V has been a risk to international shipping and has carried out several attacks," the Indian Defense Ministry said in a statement.

When the aircraft located the Vancouver Bridge, the pirates took flight, pursued by Indian warships Khukri and Kalpeni. On Sunday night, the Indian vessels located the Vega V. The pirates fired on their trackers, who returned shots, setting the Vega V ablaze. To escape the flames, those aboard leapt into the ocean. The Khukri and Kalpeni rescued 74 men from the water; 61 pirates and 13 crew. There was no sign of six Mozambicans and three Indonesians known to be aboard.

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