Page last updated at 17:07 GMT, Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Pirate hostages on hunger strike

Pirate (file photo)
The hostages' conditions are said to be deteriorating

A number of Indian and Bangladeshi fishermen being held hostage by Somali pirates have gone on hunger strike.

They are protesting against the conditions in which they are being held, the BBC understands.

The fishermen are being held in the pirate stronghold of Eyl where their condition is deteriorating rapidly, a BBC reporter in the region says.

It is believed that the men were kidnapped after their fishing boat drifted ashore.

Unlike most pirate hostages, they are being held on land instead of on board captured ships.

New attack

Meanwhile, the European Union naval force patrolling the Indian Ocean says pirates have seized another cargo ship off the Seychelles.

The Greek-owned vessel, the Filitsa, was on its way to South Africa with a cargo of chemicals.

Maritime officials said three Greek officers and a Filipino crew were on board.

On Tuesday, the Seychelles agreed to allow EU naval forces to patrol its waters following a surge in attacks on shipping in the area over the past month.

Somalia has not had a functioning government for 18 years and the lawlessness there has spread to the high seas.

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