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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russian destroyer escorts 3 commercial ships off Somalia

RIA Novosti

19/01/2009 17:23 MOSCOW, January 19 (RIA Novosti) - A Russian Pacific Fleet destroyer on Monday started escorting three commercial ships in the Gulf of Aden during its current anti-piracy mission off Somalia, a Russian Navy spokesman said.

"The Admiral Vinogradov destroyer is currently escorting a convoy comprising Russian ship Nadezhda, bulk freighter Trust Fortuna of Singapore, and cargo vessel Radonezh sailing under a Liberian flag," Captain 1st Rank Igor Dygalo said.

The Admiral Vinogradov has recently replaced the Baltic Fleet's Neustrashimy missile frigate on a mission is to escort civilian vessels through areas where Somali pirates are active.

During its tour-of-duty in the Gulf of Aden from October 2008 to January 2009, the Neustrashimy escorted over 20 convoys along the Somali coast. It is now heading back to its base in Baltiisk in Russia's exclave of Kaliningrad.

Meanwhile, Russia's Fotiy Krylov salvage tug from the Pacific Fleet has successfully escorted the CEC Future ship, which is operated by Danish Clipper Group, to Oman.

The Danish vessel and its crew members had been held off the Somali coast since early November before being released on Thursday after the payment of a ransom believed to be up to $2 million.

Pirates have been increasingly active in the waters off Somalia, where over 110 ships were attacked in 2008, with 42 vessels seized and 815 crew members abducted. Up to 20 warships from the navies of at least 10 countries are involved in anti-piracy operations off the coast of the lawless East African nation.

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