Pirate attacks prompt ships to seek refuge

Sept. 17, 2008 at 12:11 PM

VICTORIA, Seychelles, Sept. 17 (UPI) -- A series of pirate attacks near Spain have prompted more than 50 ships to seek refuge in the archipelago republic of Seychelles, officials say.

El Pais reported Wednesday that as the EU Council of Ministers considers officials' protection requests for European ships in the region, 16 Spanish tuna fishing vessels are among those ships finding shelter in the port city of Victoria.

The gathering in Seychelles comes in the wake of pirate attacks on a Spanish fishing vessel and a French ship in the area on Saturday.

Those incidents are the most recent examples of pirate activity in the region that included a kidnapping off the coast of Somalia and a hostage situation involving two French tourists.

El Pais said tuna fishermen in Spain have criticized their government for allegedly doing little to prevent such incidents or offer enhanced protection to Spanish vessels.

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