Tuesday, October 13, 2009

French Marines defend fishing trawlers from pirate attacks

AFP is reporting that Marines aboard two French-flagged tuna boats repelled an attack by pirates earlier today. This is the second such incident in three days. According to the report, a squad of 60 French Marines are protecting a fleet of ten tuna boats operating in the Indian Ocean, and today's attack apparently occurred about 500 nautical miles off the Somali coast. The trawlers had recently finished a port call in the Seychelles Islands. Last Saturday, another French tuna boat was attacked north of the Seychelles. In that incident, Marines opened fire and two pirate vessels with 11 pirate suspects were apprehended by the Seychellian coastguard. (AFP also reports that the 11 Somalis and one of their vessels were released on Sunday because of a lack of evidence.)

No doubt these incidents will cause some to continue to rail against the raping of the seas by foreign fishing boats and the impact this is having on the Somali people. But 500 nautical miles off the African coast is a long way from being considered territorial waters or even part of a littoral nation's economic exclusion zone. This is just another incident of piracy; there are no 'eco-warriors' who should be held up as modern-day Robin Hoods here.

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