The Basque tuna vessel, Felipe Ruano. (Photo: TunaSeiners/FIS)
Basque tuna vessel repels pirate attack
Wednesday, March 02, 2011, 23:30 (GMT + 9)
A Basque tuna vessel, the Felipe Ruano, has managed to repel an attack by a group of pirates, who persitted for almost two hours in the waters of the Indian Ocean.
Security agents on board the ship - based in Bermeo and owned by the company Pesquería Vasco Montañesa S.A. (Pevasa) - began to fire shots when the boat came within a mile of them.
Since January, there have been no recorded attacks on Spanish fishing boats by Somali pirates.
As the last vessel affected was the Albatun Dos, owned by the company Albacora S.A.
The Felipe Ruano was carrying around 30 sailors when they tried to be intercepted by the criminals, explained sources from the National Association of Tuna Freezer Vessels (Anabac).
The incident occurred approximately 270 miles off the Somali coast when the crew detected a pirate skiff bow approaching at high speed, reports La Opinión.
The vessel suffered no damage to property or personal, but it remained "a very big shock" to the crew after two hours of tension, they added.
This is the third event starring the Felipe Ruano in the last two years: in March 2009, it was pursued by several skiffs and escaped, and in October 2010, they alerted having spotted a suspicious vessel, which could have been a pirate ship, but immediately changed course and avoided confrontation.
Several companies in the freezer tuna industry of the Basque Country fear a surge in piracy, as it is almost the end of the second inter-monsoon period.
In this regard, the managing director of Anabac, Juan Pablo Rodriguez, told Diario Vasco: "In March and April, there will be a more suitable climate for the occurrence of such attacks."
"In addition, pirates are becoming increasingly better equipped and more aggressive," he added.
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