The Albatun Dos tuna fishing vessel. (Photo: TunaSeiners)
Basque tuna vessel escapes pirate attack
Friday, January 07, 2011, 23:20 (GMT + 9)
The vessel Albatun Dos, which was fishing in international waters around 400 miles southeast of the capital of Somalia, Mogadishu, has overcome an attack by a group of armed pirates.
The boarding attempt came when the Basque tuna vessel spotted a small boat around seven miles away approaching at high speeds.
The Albatun Dos captain said that when they noticed the presence of the pirate boat, he immediately launched "the security protocol and changed the direction against the wind."
After an hour of persecution, the attackers withdrew their bid, due to their inability to sail against the wind at a speed that would allow them to reach the Basque fishing vessel.
Although the Albatun Dos did have security personnel on board, the incident ended without shots being fired by any of the two boats.
The Basque fishing vessel, a relatively modern boat which is over 100 meters long and belongs to Bermeo Albacora, had suffered a similar attack almost a year ago, in March 2010, in the same waters. At that time, the boarding attempt was thwarted by an Atalanta helicopter.
In addition, numerous ships owned by the same person have been at risk in recent months, such is the case of the Albacán, which managed to avoid two kidnappings last year, due to the actions of private security.
The attempted hijacking comes after a month and a half of apparent calm to the Basque fishing fleet. The last attack to that fleet had occurred on 22 November 2010, when security personnel on board the boat Erroxape, of the Etxebastar Company, had prevented an attempted approach.
On the other hand, the Spanish Defense Minister, Carme Chacón, confirmed that the fishing vessel Vega 5, a Mozambican flagged vessel operated by a company with the participation of the Spanish multinational Pescanova, is still hijacked by Somali pirates.
The Spanish government took eight days to acknowledge the long-liner hijacking, which occurred on 28 December. The boat was also carrying two Galicians on board: the captain and the boatswain.
While the European security operation Navfor-Atalanta, which was created to fight piracy in the Indian Ocean, has been moderatly successful, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had noted the fact that the Vega 5 issue is more of an "incident" than a kidnapping.
Now, during his participation in the celebration of the traditional Military Easter, Minister Chacón acknowledged the kidnapping of the crew from Galicia.
Chacón explained that the problem of piracy off the Indian Ocean is persistent because "its roots are inland and feed on the instability experienced by the failed state of Somalia," reports Faro de Vigo.
- Pirates hijack fishing vessel around Mozambique
By Silvina Corniola