Spanish navy rescues Lankan crew

The Spanish navy has rescued six Sri Lankan fishermen and their fishing vessel from Somali pirates, the European Press quoted the Spanish Defence Ministry as saying today.

The Spanish Navy patrol craft ‘Infanta Elena’ had rescued the Sri Lankan fishermen who were in the custody of the Somali pirates for six months.

The pirates had reportedly used the Sri Lankan fishing vessel as a mother ship to carry out attacks.

The Spanish Defence Ministry said that the operation to free the fishermen took place yesterday just off the coast of Tanzania, between the islands of Pemba and Mafia.

After spotting the fishing vessel, the Spanish navy had intercepted the boat and found the fishermen together with seven suspected Somali pirates.

The Spanish navy had received authorization from the command of the naval task force of the European Union to intercept the Sri Lankan boat.

The Spanish Defence Ministry said that a medical check was carried out on the six fishermen after they were rescued.

The Sri Lankan boat was used by the pirates to attack a merchant ship in the Mozambique Channel last weekend, the Spanish Defence Ministry added. (Colombo Gazette)