Lawmakers in Spain have voted to send about 400 troops to join anti-piracy patrols off the coast of Somalia.
The Spanish parliament approved the deployment on a vote of 311 to nothing Wednesday.
Defense Minister Carme Chacon said the first 200 troops will leave for the Gulf of Aden on a frigate and supply vessel this Friday.
The Spanish troops will join the European Union force sent to protect ships against hijackings and attacks by Somali pirates.
The International Maritime Bureau said Somali pirates attacked at least 111 ships last year, an increase of nearly 200 percent from 2007.
The United States, China, and several other countries have also put ships on patrol in the Gulf of Aden and Somalia's Indian Ocean coast.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.