Valdarno tanker

Image via RV1705/Fleetmon

ROME (Reuters) – Eleven Somali men who attacked an Italian oil tanker in January were each jailed for three and a half years on Tuesday after a Rome court convicted them of piracy and attempted kidnapping, officials at the hearing said.

The group opened fire on the tanker Valdarno from a dhow about 250 nautical miles off the coast of YemenItaly‘s defence ministry said.

The tanker’s crew managed to evade the attack. Soon after, Italian marines working with NATO’s Ocean Shield anti-piracy mission arrived on a helicopter and arrested the Somalis, together with 10 Yemeni crew, the ministry added.

Pirates operating in the Arabian Sea and off the east coast of Africa have preyed on international shippers, raking in millions of dollars in ransom payments. Several Italian ships have been captured.

- By James Mackenzie; Editing by Andrew Heavens, (c) 2012 Reuters

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