European naval forces capture more pirates


Brussels - European naval forces revealed two more pirate interceptions in waters off Somalia, raising the number of suspected pirates captured over the weekend to more than 40.

"Six pirate action groups have been intercepted, mother ships and skiffs have been destroyed and over 40 pirates have been taken into custody," said the EU's anti-piracy mission to the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden on Monday.

The French military said on Sunday that its warship the Nivose had secured its "biggest seizure" so far in the vital shipping lane, with 35 pirates arrested and four mother ships seized in three days off Somalia.

The EU's Atalanta mission said forces from France, Italy, Luxembourg, Spain and Sweden were involved in action between Friday and Sunday, listing six more pirates in custody after being rescued by a French fishing trawler.

In the latest incident they detailed, they said that a mother ship sank after colliding with a French fishing vessel during an attack, and that six pirates were fished out of the waters by a search and rescue team.

French naval forces have been deployed to protect French trawlers, whereas Spanish ships have been permitted to sail with armed private guards.

The European Union launched its Atalanta mission in December 2008 in a bid to secure one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, joining forces with US-led and Nato missions, as well as other warships from other naval powers.

But the unprecedented naval deployment has failed to curb piracy as Somalia's marauding ransom hunters moved south and started venturing further out in the less heavily-patrolled Indian Ocean, notably towards the Seychelles. - Sapa-AFP


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