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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russian warships to set sail soon for Horn of Africa

RIA Novosti

23/03/2009 15:48 VLADIVOSTOK, March 23 (RIA Novosti) - A task force from Russia's Pacific Fleet is getting ready to travel from Vladivostok to the Gulf of Aden in late March to take part in ongoing anti-piracy operations, a fleet spokesman said on Monday.

The Admiral Panteleyev destroyer, a salvage tugboat and a tanker will replace a task force, led by the Admiral Vinogradov destroyer, which has been involved in the anti-piracy operation off the coast of Somalia since the beginning of January.

"The departure of the task force to the Gulf of Aden, where Somali pirates are active, is scheduled for the end of March. The crews are readying the ships to operate in a tropical climate," Capt. 1st Rank Roman Martov said.

The Admiral Panteleyev is an Udaloy class missile destroyer, armed with anti-ship missiles, 30-mm and 100-mm guns, and Ka-27 Helix helicopters.

The Admiral Vinogradov and the Boris Butoma tanker have completed their anti-piracy mission around the Horn of Africa and are expected to return to their home base in Vladivostok at the beginning of April.

"The ships are scheduled to make an official visit to Jakarta [Indonesia] on March 24-28. On the way to Vladivostok they will also visit the Chinese port of Zhanjiang," Martov said.

Around 20 warships from the navies of at least a dozen countries are involved in anti-piracy operations off Somalia. According to the United Nations, Somali pirates carried out at least 120 attacks on ships in 2008, resulting in combined ransom payouts of around $150 million.



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