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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russian warships to sail to Horn of Africa on March 29

RIA Novosti

27/03/2009 10:52 VLADIVOSTOK, March 27 (RIA Novosti) - A task force from Russia's Pacific Fleet will leave Vladivostok on Sunday for the Gulf of Aden to take part in ongoing anti-piracy operations, a fleet spokesman said on Friday.

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 task force will leave Zolotoy Rog Bay at 10:00 a.m. local time on March 29 (23:00 Saturday GMT), and will head for the Horn of Africa. The crews of all four ships are fully prepared for the voyage to the Indian Ocean. The sailors have been given clothing for the tropical climate, and the ships have sufficient supplies of fresh water, food and fuel," the spokesman told RIA Novosti.

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.

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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