Pirates threatening shipping off the coast of Somalia are taking their attacks further and further off shore. The French tuna boat Drennec escaped after pirates attacked more than 400 nautical miles out to sea. The attack happened on Saturday; the same day, a Panamanian-registered tanker also narrowly avoided attack in a similar part of the Indian Ocean.
Despite UN condemnation, Somali pirates have been running amok recently. Some 20,000 vessels head to and from the Gulf of Aden each year, running an increasing risk of attack. They include tuna fishermen, many of whom have now refused to leave the safety of Mahe, the capital of the Seychelles.
The French Fisheries Minister Michel Barnier has now called for urgent international talks to find a solution. Some 30 vessels have been seized this year alone, and the pirates earn millions in ransom to release them. Western warships are based in the area to protect vital oil shipments, and there are calls for them to counter the pirates’ lucrative trade.