The UN Security Council last night adopted a resolution allowing international military forces to pursue pirates operating off the Somali coast on to Somali territory.

The unanimous resolution stipulates that the consent of the Somali transitional government would be needed for such incursions.

Pirates seized three more ships in the Gulf of Aden yesterday, an Indonesian tugboat, a Turkish cargo ship and a yacht.

But an attempted hijacking of a Chinese fishing vessel was foiled when the crew of the Zhenhua 4 held off an attack by boarders until a vessel reached the ship from the newly created EU naval task force, which has taken over patrols off the Horn of Africa from NATO.

The East African Seafarers Assistance programme said today that 19 ships and nearly 400 crew are being held in pirate hideouts along the Somali coast.