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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Somali Pirates: Spanish boat captured?

Reported here:
A Basque tuna boat, "Playa de Bakio" carrying a crew of 26 has been taken over by pirates off the Somali coast.

The statement was made by a spokesman from Spain's foreign ministry. There are thirteen Spanish nationals and thirteen African crew-members on board the boat which was seized by pirates about 400 km off the coast of Somalia on Sunday, public radio RNE reported earlier, as did AFP.

According to the radio report, the boat is heading to Somalia.

This is while a source from the Basque government's Agriculture, Fisheries and Food department told the Spanish news agency, Efe, that four armed pirates took control of the boat using grenade launchers, BBC reported.

The source said the boat suffered "some damage" in the attack but was "navigable".
More here:
The Playa de Bakio "was boarded and apparently seized while it was fishing in Somali waters" at 1:00 pm (1100 GMT), the ministry said in a statement.

Thirteen of the crew are Spanish nationals, it said, while Spanish media reported that their remaining 13 crewmates are African nationals.

Four pirates armed with grenade launchers seized the boat, which is based in the Basque town of Bremeo, some 400 kilometres (250 miles) off the coast of Somalia, Basque government officials told the Europa Press news agency.

The ship was damaged in the attack but it is still able to sail and it appears to be headed towards land, they added.

"The defence ministry has instructed one of its ships which is nearby to head immediately to the area of the incident," the foreign ministry's statement said.

A Spanish military frigate that was in the Red Sea was heading towards the are where the fishing boat was seized, a government source said.

The defence ministry has also been in contact with military officials of nations with a military presence in the area to request "logistics support and help in locating the affected boat, the statement added.

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