Seychelles rescues fishermen from pirates

2011-04-20 14:52
Victoria - The Seychelles coast guard on Wednesday rescued four fishermen whose boat had been captured by Somali pirates in an operation during which seven sea-bandits were detained.

"The Seychelles Coast Guard rescued four Seychellois fishermen on the fishing vessel 'Gloria' this morning, that had been captured by Somali pirates yesterday," said a statement sent by the office of the president.

The coast guard received a distress signal from the fishing vessel on Tuesday and responded by deploying two of its vessels, a surveillance plane, army personnel and members of the special "Tazar" anti-piracy force.

The Seychellois forces approached the pirates and their hostages and launched an operation at first light on Wednesday after the pirates failed to heed calls to surrender, the statement said.

It said the operation was conducted approximately 150 nautical miles northeast of the Indian Ocean archipelago's main island of Mahe.

One Seychellois fisherman was wounded during the operation, together with three Somali suspected pirates, it added.

The small island nation, whose livelihood depends mainly on tourism and fishing, has captured dozens of pirates since attacks surged in 2007.

The Seychelles has received foreign support in its fight against piracy and has a deal with the European Union and other foreign naval outfits to take in captured pirates and try them.

The Indian Ocean archipelago - which has a total population of around 85 000 and only one prison - has warned however that it could not absorb the ever growing influx of captured pirates.

On Tuesday, the Seychelles signed a memorandum of understanding with Somalia's northern breakaway states of Puntland and Somaliland for the transfer of sentenced pirates at an anti-piracy conference in Dubai.

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