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End Of Monsoon Increases Piracy Threat For Spanish Tuna Fleet

The Spanish tuna purse seiner fleet is on high alert for risk of piracy as the monsoon season in the Indian Ocean draws to a close. Tuna vessels are reminded to increase their vigilance and safety in these waters. Purse seiners are especially vulnerable while they are static when setting their nets on tuna.
Despite the number of piracy attacks off Somalia dropping by 88 percent in the first half of this year, tuna crews in the coming months have been warned to keep a watchful eye. It is thought there is high possibility of unwanted encounters with Somali raiders which could cause a threat to safety of fishermen on board vessels passing through this region.
The end of the monsoon season sparks the beginning of calmer waters that are favored by the boats of the pirates. Landlocked Somali pirate vessels have previously preyed on ships and taken hostages for whose ransom they can demand significant amounts of money.
Although the number of attacks has dramatically declined, Spanish tuna fishing crews are urged to implement onboard security protocols and maintain them throughout the year.
Spanish tuna fishing vessels have chosen to continue to have armed security agents on board, despite the Spanish government deciding to cut its 25 percent contribution to the service cost. One fleet representative said: “The armed guard on board remains nevertheless intact because it has worked perfectly and avoided many problems and nothing will change.”
In recent months the industry and the authorities involved in the safety of navigation of vessels in the area have warned that Somali pirate groups have changed their actions and thus indicate that there are less protection zones available.
Military pressure exerted by forces deployed in the Indian Ocean by the EU and other countries has resulted in the number of pirate attacks in the region declining in the first half of this year. In fact, 2013 so far has seen the relatively lowest number of attacks in the last five years.
So far only eight piracy attacks have been reported in the Indian Ocean this year, compared to the total number last year of 69 reported incidents.