The Spanish government has announced that it will allow its tuna fleet of fishing vessels operating near Somalia to hire mercenaries, or as they put it “Private Security” services, to defend the fishing fleet as it goes about its business in the notoriously pirate infested waters of the Indian Ocean.

According to the Spanish Ministry of Defense these security guards will be heavily armed with extremely high-powered rifles. The fishermen originally wanted Spanish marines stationed on the boats as many other countries such as France have already done.

But this will be a breach of the law in Spain which has never allowed its armed forces to protect any kind of privately owned property that would include ships at sea.

Nearly all of the Spanish registered fishing boats that operate in the Indian Ocean come from the Basque region. Like many other countries Spain has seen its ships attacked since 2007 by Somali pirates and has several naval vessels operating as part of the European Union in defense of all European vessels plying these dangerous waters.

There has been one actual hijacking of a Spanish tuna fishing vessel and one failed attempt in the last year. It is unclear if this exception of allowing mercenaries onto the ships will include any assistance of a financial kind from the Spanish government.

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