Spanish tuna boat escapes pirate attack

1st November 2009, Comments 0 comments

A Spanish tuna trawler was attacked by pirates off the coast of Somalia but was able to escape, its captain said Saturday, amid a wave of raids on fishing boats.

Madrid - A Spanish tuna trawler was attacked by pirates off the coast of Somalia but was able to escape, its captain said Saturday, amid a wave of raids on fishing boats.

"We were able to escape," captain Ion Fontela told Cadena Ser radio without providing more details. "At the moment, all boats navigating the Indian Ocean are a target for the pirates."

The Spanish radio station said the Artza fishing vessel was able to escape the pirates thanks to security guards aboard the trawler.

Another Basque fishing boat, the Iria Flavia, was also able to skirt a pirate attack on Friday, Spanish media reported.

The Spanish government on Friday gave private security firms protecting fishing vessels the authorisation to use large-calibre weapons to prevent pirate attacks.

A Spanish tuna trawler, the Alakrana, and its 36 crew members have been held by pirates since 2 October.

The captors are demanding USD 4 million dollars (EUR 2.6 million) ransom as well as the freeing of two suspected pirates being held in Spain.

Somali pirates, who have launched almost daily attacks near the Seychelles since monsoon winds dropped a month ago, currently hold a total of nine ships and around 200 crew.

AFP/Expatica

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