MOGADISHU - Somali pirates tried to board a Spanish navy ship off the Horn of Africa nation but it repulsed the attack and arrested six pirates, the European Union Naval Force for Somalia said on Thursday.
Somali pirates are an increasing hazard to shipping in the region, posing a challenge to international navies patrolling the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean.
The EU Navfor said that the Patino, EU Navfor's flagship, had just finished escorting a UN World Food Program ship to Somalia when it was approached by a skiff carrying the pirates.
"The suspected pirates opened fire with light caliber weapons and tried to board the Patino. The ship's force-protection team returned fire in self-defense and the ship's helicopter was launched," a statement said.
"The skiff broke off the attack and the men surrendered to the helicopter after throwing their weapons, ladder and fuel barrels overboard."
EU Navfor said five of the six men on the skiff were injured and received treatment. Checks were underway to establish whether a seventh man was lost overboard.