The German military reported that the frigate Rheinland-Pfalz responded to a distress call at 7:12 am from the MV Courier sailing in the Gulf of Aden.
The vessel, which belongs to the Hamburg shipping company Gebrüder Winter and flies the flag of Antigua and Barbuda, said it was under attack by pirates using rocket propelled grenades and small arms.
The German naval warship – some 50 nautical miles away at the time of the attack – deployed a helicopter to the scene. Along with an American chopper from the USS Monterey, the Germans were able to deter the attack by firing warning shots.
Naval forces later boarded the hostile vessel and arrested nine men. It's the first time that the German navy has captured sea bandits since joining an international anti-piracy mission off the coast of Somalia.