Spanish trawler repels pirate attack off Madagascar

25th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

A Spanish fishing trawler repelled an attack by pirates off Madagascar on Tuesday, its owners said.

"This morning, our tuna trawler, the Campolibre Alai, was the victim of a pirate attack in the waters of Madagascar, near the waters of the French island of Mayotte," the Echebasta company said in a statement.

"The boat took evasion manoeuvres and was able to leave the area with suffering any harm to personnel," it said.

It added that security measures on board had "functioned effectively."

Last year another Spanish tuna fishing vessel, the Alakrana, and its crew of 36 were taken hostage for more than a month off the coast of Somalia, where pirates have bases.

They were freed after paying a ransom of four million dollars (three million euros), according to the Somali pirates who had captured them.

Spanish boats do not carry soldiers when they travel through the area, unlike French vessels.

But Madrid allows private security guards to carry weapons on the vessels to protect them.

According to the London-based International Maritime Bureau, which monitors maritime crime, pirates attempted 215 attacks on merchant ships off the Somali coast in 2009.

© 2010 AFP

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