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Pirates identify London informers

MADRID, May 12 – Somali pirates are receiving reports on possible targets from informers in London, a Spanish radio station said Monday quoting a military report from a European country.

The pirates, using satellite phones on their boats, receive details from their sources in the British capital on the routes, cargos and nationalities of vessels to attack, private radio station Cadena Ser said.

"The information that merchant ships transiting the zone provide voluntarily to different international organisations ends up in the hands of the pirates," it said.

The journalist who filed the story at Cadena Ser told AFP it was based on a military report from a European country that she would not name.

She said the report had been handed over to the military commanders of other European countries taking part in the European anti-piracy operation Atalanta.

A spokesman for Atalanta in Brussels could not confirm the information.

"There are a lot of rumours on how and where the pirates get their information from. We have no confirmation that pirates would extract information (on cargo routes) out of our own organisations, either directly or indirectly," he said.

Cadena Ser said several attacks were carried out by Somali pirates using the method cited in the report, in particular the seizing of a Spanish fishing boat on March 13, of a Greek cargo ship, the Titan, and a Turkish merchant vessel, the Karagol.

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The radio said the pirates avoid attacking ships of certain nationalities, in particular British vessels.

According to the International Maritime Bureau, pirate attacks off lawless Somalia increased tenfold in the first three months of this year.

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