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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russian warship escorts 8-vessel convoy off Somalia

RIA Novosti


MOSCOW, December 22 (RIA Novosti) - A Russian warship is escorting a convoy of eight commercial ships through pirate-infested waters off the Horn of Africa, a Navy spokesman said on Tuesday.

The Admiral Chabanenko destroyer from Russia's Northern Fleet began escorting commercial ships in the Gulf of Aden on December 4.

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

On Thursday, the Admiral Chabanenko 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.

The Russian Navy has maintained a constant presence off the Horn of Africa, with each fleet dispatching warships on a rotational 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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