The Danish navy says one of its frigates, sailing off west Africa on an international anti-piracy mission, has killed four suspected pirates and injured one in an exchange of gunfire.
The frigate HDMS Esbern Snare reacted on Wednesday to information that a vessel was approaching several commercial ships in the Gulf of Guinea off oil-rich Nigeria.
The frigate dispatched a Seahawk helicopter, whose crew reported seeing eight men on the vessel with "equipment connected to piracy, including ladders".
Later on Wednesday, the frigate got close enough to the suspected pirate boat to send Danish troops toward it in dinghies.
When the suspected pirates did not react to radio calls, the Danes fired warning shots.
The suspected pirates returned the fire and the Danes reacted in "self-defence" and a brief gun exchange ensued during which four suspected pirates died, the Danish military said in a statement.
No Danes were injured.
After the exchange, the vessel sank and eight suspected pirates were taken onboard Esbern Snare including one who was wounded, who was given medical treatment.
The frigate with a crew of about 175 arrived in the Gulf of Guinea this month and will be deployed there for five months.
The Gulf of Guinea is one to be the world's most dangerous with regular ship crew kidnappings.
In 2019, the region accounted for more than 90 per cent of global crew member kidnappings.