Eight suspected Somali pirates who were seized by Royal Marine commandos in a high seas exchange of gunfire off Somalia last week were charged in Kenyan court on Wednesday.
The suspects appeared before Mombasa Chief Magistrate Catherine Mwangi accused of allegedly committing piracy along the Somalia coastline.
They denied the charges but were remanded in custody until Monday pending a ruling whether to grant them bail or not.
The suspects were captured after a British frigate HMS Cumberland and a Russian frigate Neustrashimy stopped an attempted raid on a Danish vessel in the Gulf of Aden.
The negotiations have been underway with the Kenyan authorities ever since the incident on Nov. 11 when commandos from HMS Cumberland confronted the pirates who had earlier tried to hijack a Danish cargo vessel, the MV Powerful.
Three pirates were killed after the Marines opened fire in self-defense when there was a burst of gunfire from a dhow which had been involved in the incident with the Danish vessel.
According to police reports, seven AK-47 rifles, pistols and a missile launcher were recovered from the suspects.
The handover of the suspects follows the seizure in a separate incident over the weekend of the biggest vessel to be hijacked by Somali pirates, the giant Saudi oil tanker Sirius Star.
The Saudi supertanker was hijacked more than 830 kilometers, southeast of Mombasa, southeast Kenya, U.S. Navy officials said.
That is far to the south of most recent attacks, suggesting that the pirates may be expanding their range in an effort to avoid the multinational naval patrols now plying the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea.
Andrew Mwangura of the East African Seafarers Assistance Program (SAP) said that the three ships hijacked include a Thai fishing boat, a Hong Kong-registered cargo and a Greek bulk carrier were hijacked on Tuesday.
"The ships were hijacked on Tuesday but we have not been able to contact the crew on the ships. They were all seized by different groups of pirates in the Gulf of Aden," Mwangura said.
"We are still making contacts with the owners and operators of these ships," said Mwangura, who was not able to confirm the ship's name. The hijacking came even as the Royal Navy and other foreign naval forces continued to patrol the Somalia waters and other volatile parts in the Gulf of Aden.
The Indian Navy said one of its warships destroyed a ship belonging to pirates off the coast of Somalia.
Military officials say the warship "INS Tabar" engaged in a brief battle Wednesday with suspected pirates in a ship that was accompanied by two speed boats.
The incident happened in the Gulf of Aden, where maritime officials say pirates seized three vessels on Tuesday.
Authorities say pirates hijacked a Thai fishing boat with a crew of 16, an Iranian cargo ship with a crew of 25, and a Greek bulk carrier with a crew of at least 23.
The pirates in the main ship fired at the naval vessel, which returned fire, sinking the ship run by the suspected pirates.
Somalia has had no effective government since the 1991 overthrow of Mohamed Siad Barre, the former president, touched off a bloody power struggle that has defied numerous attempts to restore stability.