On Monday the U.S. Navy handed over nine suspected pirates to authorities in northern Somalia after determining there was not enough evidence to put them on trial.

According to Lt. Nate Christensen of the Bahrain-based U.S. 5th Fleet said the men had been detained February 12 after being found in the vicinity of an Indian merchant ship that pirates had unsuccessfully attacked off the lawless Somali coast, the Associated Press reported.

The U.S. Navy evaluated the situation and determined there was insufficient evidence to support their prosecution by the U.S., Christensen said, the AP reported.

The handover was also reported by Mohamed Siad Jaqanaf, deputy police chief of Somalia's semiautonomous region of Puntland.

No details on the fate of the men were released.

Somalia, a nation of about eight million people, has not had a functioning government since warlords overthrew a dictator in 1991 and then turned on each other.

Its lawless coastline is a haven for pirates with more than 100 ships attacked last year alone.