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Russian destroyer escorting 4 ships through Gulf of Aden

RIA Novosti

13/02/2009 10:55 VLADIVOSTOK, February 13 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Admiral Vinogradov destroyer is escorting four vessels through waters off the Horn of Africa to protect them against Somali pirates, Navy Capt. 1st Rank Roman Martov said on Friday.

The Pacific Fleet destroyer is escorting three foreign vessels and one Russia container ship through the Gulf of Aden. Once safely in the Arabian Sea, the ships will continue their individual courses and the Admiral Vinogradov will return to the Gulf of Aden with another group of foreign ships in its charge.

Pacific Fleet spokesman Martov said this is the fifth group of ships the warship has escorted in the pirate-infested waters since it replaced the Baltic Fleet frigate Neustrashimy in January.

The Admiral Vinogradov is operating within the framework of an EU anti-piracy operation, dubbed Atalanta, to protect shipping lanes off the Horn of Africa from pirates.

Up to 20 warships from the navies of at least 10 countries are patrolling the area, where pirates based in Somalia seized around 40 ships last year.

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