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Saturday, May 22, 1999 Published at 22:03 GMT 23:03 UK

World: Europe

Fishermen protest at bombs in Adriatic

Some fishermen have stopped working in the Adriatic

Scores of fishing boats sailed into the Venice lagoon on Saturday to protest over the dangers of unexploded Nato bombs.

Kosovo: Special Report
Earlier this month, a suspected Nato bomb exploded as a fishing net was being hauled on board a boat off Venice, injuring three members of the Italian crew.

Some fishermen have stopped setting out for parts of the Adriatic deemed at risk for bombs.

Mechanical problems can force Nato pilots to dump their bombs prematurely.

The major Aviano air base is close to Venice and it is standard practice to jettison weapons if a military plane is in difficulty as it comes in to land.

Nato says it is safer to drop these bombs at sea, where they can be picked up later by naval vessels, than risk a land explosion.

Mine-sweepers have been searching the waters off Venice trying to find bombs before fishermen haul up more in their nets and Italian Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema will meet the fishermen on Monday.

One fisherman said: "Our activity has been damaged since there are these bombs and everyone is afraid to go to work because we are afraid to die. No-one will go to sea until all the bombs have been cleared."

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15 May 99 | Europe
Nato dumps bombs in Adriatic

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