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Russia's Navy urges international fight against pirates

RIA Novosti

27/05/2008 16:20 MOSCOW, May 27 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian Navy has called on international navies to launch joint operations against pirates that have recently stepped up attacks on ships off Africa's coasts.

Pirate attacks have risen across the world, with most attacks occurring along the Somali coast, where more than 25 ships were seized last year.

"Coordinating operations by naval forces in the zones of pirate attacks could help partly resolve the problem," Captain 1st Rank Igor Dygalo said.

The call comes as a Dutch cargo ship with a crew of nine, including four Russians, was reported as being seized by pirates off the Somali coast on Monday. The vessel left the Kenyan port of Mombasa May 19 en route to Romania's port of Constanta.

The Russian Navy spokesman said Russia has actively participated in international exercises during which officers are trained how to cope with "maritime pirates."

The spokesman said that last year the Russian Navy boosted its permanent presence in international waters, adding that the increased naval patrols could protect shipping and cut the number of attacks on civilian vessels.

Another Danish-owned vessel, the Svitzer Korsakov, with four Russian crew members, a British captain, and an Irish engineer on board, was seized by Somali pirates on February 1 and held for more than six weeks before being released.

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