ROME - Five Italian fishing boats with 37 crew aboard were detained in Egypt after an inspection by an Egyptian military vessel in international waters, Italian officials said on Thursday.
Giovanni Tumbiolo, president of the fishing industry association in the Sicilian town of Mazara del Vallo, the home port of the vessels, told TGCom 24 television they had been taken to Alexandria but he had few details on the incident.
"It is very strange that they were asked to follow the Egyptian naval vessel to Alexandria," he said.
The foreign ministry in Rome said Italy's ambassador in Cairo was in touch with Egyptian officials. Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi, who had just returned from a visit to Cairo, would contact his counterpart in Egypt, it added.