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Russian, British navies prevent Danish ship seizure by pirates

RIA Novosti

12/11/2008 18:58 MOSCOW, November 12 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian frigate Neustrashimy (Fearless) and Britain's HMS Cumberland frigate have prevented the seizure of a Danish merchant vessel by pirates off Somalia's coast, a Russian Navy spokesman said on Wednesday.

"Pirates tried shooting at the vessel and made two attempts to capture it. Their actions were prevented by the joint efforts of the Russian and British warships. A Ka-27 helicopter took off from the Neustrashimy and a Lynx helicopter took off from the HMS Cumberland," Capt. 1st Rank Igor Dygalo said.

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, the Faina, carrying tanks and heavy weaponry was seized by Somali pirates on September 25. The pirates have demanded a $5-million ransom in exchange for the release of the Ukrainian-Russian crew.

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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