EU anti-piracy force frees ship from suspected pirates off Somalia

NAIROBI (Reuters) - The European Union's anti-piracy force in the Indian Ocean and Red Sea said on Friday the Liberian-flagged merchant vessel Basilisk had been freed from suspected pirates off the coast of Somalia and its 17 crew members were safe.

The ship was attacked by suspected pirates on Thursday around 380 nautical miles east of Somalia's capital Mogadishu while sailing north, the EU Naval Force said in a statement.

The EU said its forces boarded the Basilisk from a helicopter on Thursday night, having sent one of its Operation Atalanta warships to respond earlier in the day.

A male crew member who was injured during the attack by the suspected pirates was in a stable condition and has received medical attention, it said.

Somali pirates caused chaos in the waters off the east African country's long coastline between 2008 and 2018, but had been dormant until late last year when pirate activity started to pick up again.

(This story has been refiled to remove extraneous word 'Somalia' in paragraph 2)

(Reporting by Hereward Holland; Editing by Alison Williams)