Spanish navy delivers suspected pirates to Seychelles

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The Spanish navy on Saturday handed over 11 suspected pirates to authorities in the Seychelles, four days after they were arrested while allegedly pursuing a fishing boat in the Indian Ocean, Spain's defence ministry said.

The Spanish frigate "Canarias" detained the suspects early on Tuesday aboard two boats after a Seychelles-registered fishing vessel alerted the Spanish naval operations centre that it was being pursued by pirates.

The "Canarias", part of the European Union's Atalante anti-piracy operation in the Indian Ocean, delivered the suspects to the Seychelles following a formal complaint against them by the fishing boat's Spanish owners, the defence ministry said in a statement.

The international community is facing difficulties in prosecuting the growing number of pirates off Somalia, a lawless, war-torn country that sits alongside one of the world's most important shipping routes.

Two Somali men are currently on trial in Spain over the hijacking of a Spanish fishing boat in 2009.

© 2011 AFP

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