Spanish boat fights off pirates near Seychelles

March 15th, 2010 - 11:34 am ICT by IANS  

Vitoria (Spain), March 15 (IANS/EFE) The security team aboard the Txori Argi, a Spanish fishing boat, have fought off a group of pirates who attacked the vessel off the Seychelles Islands, but no one was injured in the incident, the shipowner said.
The crew, made up of about 30 sailors and four security officers, Sunday spotted a mother ship and two skiffs carrying pirates about 80 miles from Mahe, the largest island in the Seychelles archipelago.

The pirates chased the fishing boat, prompting the security officers to open fire with their weapons, the shipowner told EFE.

The pirates got within less than a mile of the fishing boat, drawing a second round of warning shots from the security officers.

The pirates did not fire at the Txori Argi and left after the second round of warning shots were fired.

The crew is in good condition and plans to continue fishing for tuna, the shipowner said, adding that the Spanish military was notified of the incident.

Shipowners whose vessels operate in the Indian Ocean have been authorised to carry armed security officers aboard boats to deal with attacks by the numerous Somali pirates in the area.

Boats from Spain and other countries have been seized by Somali pirates.

The European Union has deployed naval vessels to provide security in the region, but protecting fishing boats is not part of the mandate.



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