Data loading...

Pirates Avoid Armed Spanish Tuna Vessels In The Indian Ocean Spain, September 20, 12

Since last February, the 20 tuna vessels based in Spain, or having Spanish capital operating in the Indian Ocean, have not experienced hijacking attempts by Somali pirates.

The last attack was experienced by the Spanish ship Erroxape, based in Bermeo and with the flag of the Seychelles Islands.

On 3 February, 2012, the ship managed to escape from Somali pirates thanks to the bad weather affecting the area.

At that time, the intervention of armed agents on board was not necessary as the pirates failed to approach the Erroxape, which would have been dangerous, reports La Opinión.

A representative of the Spanish tuna fleet explained “The pirate bands are well informed and know that European ships carry armed personnel on board, so they seek easier targets.”

“However, we remain vulnerable once the gear has been launched,” he warned.

The hijackings perpetrated by Somali raiders have fallen considerably in recent months, although violence has increased as well as the pressure for receiving a ransom.

However, the owners agree that the problem “is still there,” and that in some cases there are hijackings with casualties among crew members, so the threat persists.

According to the data provided by the International Maritime Bureau, through August there were 210 pirate attacks worldwide, with 70 in Somalia.

In this context, there were 23 hijackings, 13 of which were carried out by Somali raiders.

Of the 13 ships captured by the bands of this country in the Horn of Africa, 11 are still being held, with 188 crew members as hostages.

On 2 October it will be three years since the Basque tuna vessel Alakrana was hijacked. Other vessels undergoing hijackings were the Playa de Bakio in 2008; and the Vega 5 –with Mozambican flag and Galician crew -- released in 2011 after 137 days of capture, the newspaper La Voz de Galicia reported.

Sources of the National Association of Tuna Freezer Vessels (Anabac) and of the Organization of Associate Producers of Big Tuna Freezer Vessels (Opagac) -- organisms that have 11 and 6 vessels in the area, respectively -- stated that the situation has improved and that the vessels have worked more quietly since they started having security guards on board.

According to Anabac managing director, Juan Pablo Rodriguez, “a lot of changes are still necessary, it is an extraordinary threat.”

While Opacac deputy manager, Juan Pedro Monteagudo, stressed that the ships feel “more comfortable” with private security.