The Danish warship Absalon has rescued a merchant ship in the Gulf of Aden, after Somali pirates boarded it in an attempt to hijack the ship.

The master of the Barbuda-flagged Ariella sent out a distress signal on Friday morning last week, reporting that six heavily armed pirates had boarded the ship.

Danish Special Forces then sent out a helicopter which located a suspected pirate skiff, firing warning shots.

Following this, a team of specially trained forces was sent to board the ship and regain control.

The crew had managed to lock themselves away and have been released safely.

The Absalon carried out the rescue as part of the counter-piracy operation of the NATO force patrolling the waters off the Horn of Africa.