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The Associated Press February 24, 2010, 2:25PM ET

EU flotilla intensifies control of pirate ports

The European Union says its flotilla combating piracy off the Somali coast will intensify surveillance of pirate ports and hunt motherships that act as logistics bases for the pirates.

Spanish Defense Minister Carme Chacon says EU defense ministers meeting here agreed to strengthen controls over pirate bases in coming months. She did not elaborate how this will be achieved.

The EU, NATO, the United States and other affected countries have deployed a large number of warships and maritime aircraft to the region to stem hijackings of merchant vessels.

Rear Adm. Peter Hudson, who commands the EU mission, said intensifying cooperation between the various flotillas was improving their ability to control an area of ocean of over one million square miles.

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