Danish naval officials said they have turned over five suspected Somali pirates to officials in the Netherlands.

A spokesman for the Danish Navy said Tuesday that the men have been handed over to a Dutch representative in Bahrain and are expected to be flown to the Netherlands to stand trial.

The navy said the men were captured January 2 after they allegedly attacked a Dutch cargo ship off the coast of Somalia.  The Danish combat ship Absalon came to the scene and fired a flare at the pirates' boat, which caught fire and began to sink.

The alleged pirates were pulled from the sea and had been held prisoner on the Absalon since the incident.

The Danish ship is part of an international anti-piracy force patrolling the waters off Somalia.

Somali pirates have hijacked three ships this year, after seizing more 40 vessels during 2008.