26/04/08 (B445) PRESS TV – Des hélicoptères espagnoles pour chasser les pirates somaliens. Spanish copters to hunt Somali pirates (En Anglais – Info lecteur)

An undated handout image of Spanish tuna boat, Playa de Bakio, Spanish frigate and helicopters tighten up the noose around Somali pirates who have taken 26 Spanish and African fishermen hostage.

Spanish copters and warship Mendez Nunez are now very close to a still boat ship-jacked by Somali pirates, a Press TV correspondent reported, adding that the hostage-takers are likely to put down their arms and surrender.

On Sunday, the fishing vessel, Playa de Bakio, was seized by the pirates in international waters and was then taken to the coastal town of Harardhere, 300 km (200 miles) northeast of Mogadishu.

The pirates fled the town and docked off the northeastern town of Gaan, after they learned that Somali security forces are seeking to arrest and extradite them to Spain.

Spain has also dispatched a reconnaissance plane to Djibouti, which neighbors Somalia, saying that the measures are aimed to force the pirates to enter into negotiations.

The pirates are believed to be seeking a ransom; however, the Madrid government said on Wednesday that it had not received any formal demand.

The International Maritime Bureau has reported that despite US navy patrols, more than 25 ships were seized by pirates in Somali coastal waters in 2007. The Bureu has advised merchant ships to stay at least 200 nautical miles (370 kilometers) from Somalia’s coast.