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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russian warship escorts freighter to safety off Somalia

RIA Novosti

15:34 17/12/2009 MOSCOW, December 17 (RIA Novosti) - A Russian warship has escorted a commercial ship in distress through the pirate-infested waters off the coast of Somali, a Navy spokesman said on Thursday.

The Admiral Chabanenko destroyer from Russia's Northern Fleet provided assistance to the Lady Alla, a Cambodian-flagged cargo vessel that had developed a technical problem, and escorted it to Yemen's territorial waters.

A Russian task force comprised of the Admiral Chabanenko and a support ship arrived in the Gulf of Aden in late November to resume Russia's anti-piracy mission off the Horn of Africa.

The Russian Navy has maintained a constant presence off the Horn of Africa, with each fleet dispatching warships on a rotation basis. Russia joined international anti-piracy efforts off the Somali coast in October 2008.

Somalia has been without an effective government since 1991.

Attacks by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden and the east coast of Somalia numbered 174, with 35 vessels hijacked and 587 crew taken hostage so far in 2009.

Worldwide there were 324 pirate attacks on commercial ships this year to October 20, with 37 vessels hijacked and 639 hostages taken, according to the International Maritime Bureau's Piracy Reporting Center.

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