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Rome (AFP) July 26, 2012
An Egyptian navy patrol boat Thursday seized five Italian fishing trawlers with around 30 sailors on board and will escort them to the port of Alexandria, Italian media reported citing officials.
"They were approached by the patrol boat which confiscated their documents," Giovanni Tumbiolo, head of the Mazara del Vallo fishing district where the trawlers are based, was quoted as saying by Adnkronos news agency.
"I have spoken to the captains and they said they are all well. There was no act of aggression," he said without giving a reason for the incident.
Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi has instructed Italy's ambassador in Cairo to liaise with Egyptian authorities, said a foreign ministry statement.
Italy's consul in Alexandria will also be on the ground when the seized trawlers are taken into the Egyptian port, the reports said.
The incident happened around 20 nautical miles (23 miles, 37 kilometres) from Egyptian shores.
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