Pirates return to the Mediterranean: Italian navy takes back fishing boat seized near Libya

(Reuters) – Italian navy personnel on Friday boarded a Sicilian fishing boat and took custody of a Libyan soldier on board after the vessel was seized overnight off the coast of the North African state, the defence ministry said.

The Mediterranean has grown increasingly deadly as hundreds of thousands of people put themselves in the hands of migrant traffickers for harrowing journeys on overloaded boats to Europe to escape conflicts in North Africa and the Middle East.

A defence ministry statement said a tugboat apparently belonging to Libyan security forces had stopped an Italian trawler early on Friday, around 90 km (55 miles) from the port of Misrata.

Italy’s navy subsequently intercepted and took control of the vessel, encountering no resistance from the sole Libyan soldier on board, who was transferred to an Italian ship.

One fisherman suffered minor injuries, the ministry said.

A spokesman for a Sicilian fishing trade association had said earlier that the incident was likely the work of pirates. No such attacks have been reported before…

  • Europe had better get a grip.

    • dance…dancetotheradio

      A grip on what?
      Europe is fucked.
      I will never go there.
      Not even to visit the old country.
      There’s been nothing in Britain worthwhile since the Ting Tings.
      And I love the Ting Tings.

  • Dana Garcia

    Good grief, it sounds like the coast off Somalia.

    It must help pirates that the Italian navy is busy rescuing African fleebags.

  • tom_billesley

    Have they run out of invasion boats on the north African coast? There’s been a couple of incidents where traffickers have used armed threat to get boats back after they’ve been emptied by rescuers. Is piracy going to be the new way to get boats?

  • Raymond Hietapakka

    Walk the Plank, buddy…