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Russian warship escorts Danish vessel off Somali coast

RIA Novosti

11/11/2008 14:59 MOSCOW, November 11 (RIA Novosti) -- The Neustrashimy (Fearless) frigate is providing protection for a Danish vessel carrying Russian crew members off the Somali coast, a Russian navy spokesman said on Tuesday.

"The Danish side has asked through diplomatic channels for a Russian warship to escort its CEC Commander vessel in the Gulf of Aden," Capt. 1st Rank Igor Dygalo said, adding that the crew included 15 Russian seamen.

The Neustrashimy entered waters off the Somali coast in late October. Somali pirates have attacked around 60 ships so far this year, resulting in the seizure of around 30 vessels. The East African nation has been without a functioning government since 1991 and has no navy to police its coastline.

A Ukrainian ship carrying tanks and heavy weaponry was seized by Somali pirates on September 25.

NATO and the EU have recently announced plans to increase their naval presence in the Gulf of Aden. About 20,000 vessels pass through the region annually.

In early June, the UN Security Council passed a resolution permitting countries to enter Somalia's territorial waters to combat "acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea."

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