Spanish navy routs pirate attack in Indian ocean: ministry

12th January 2012, Comments 0 comments

A Spanish navy ship Thursday fought off a gun attack by pirates in the Indian Ocean, then chased and captured six of the attackers while one was reported killed, Spain's defence ministry said.

The support and combat vessel Patino, part of a European Union security mission, "early this morning suffered an attack by a pirate skiff that led to the detention of six of the attackers," it said in a statement.

The pirates opened fire on the Spanish ship, prompting it to respond "with light fire". When the pirates continued shooting, the ship "responded with neutralisation fire in self-defence".

The ship eventually routed the pirates and sent out a helicopter to chase them. The pirates surrendered when the helicopter caught up with their boat.

"Six pirates have been taken on board the Patino, of which five are injured," the ministry said. "Those detained said that another companion died in the incident and was thrown by them into the sea."

The Patino operates under the EU's Operation Atalanta, a multinational mission to protect ships in the perilous shipping route off the coast of Somalia, where hundreds of seamen have been taken hostage.


© 2012 AFP

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