Russian warship starts patrol of Somali waters
MOSCOW, January 25 (RIA Novosti) - A Russian frigate, the Neustrashimy, has started a patrol mission in the pirate-infested area off the Horn of Africa and the Gulf of Aden, a Russian Navy spokesman said.
"The Neustrashimy crew has started its mission to protect shipping routes and fight piracy. It has successfully escorted a convoy of commercial vessels through the dangerous areas of the Gulf of Aden and the Horn of Africa," the spokesman said.
He added that the convoy consisted of 12 vessels under different flags. "Some of the crews included Russians," he said.
The Neustrashimy has replaced the Admiral Chabanenko destroyer and is currently fulfilling its second mission in the area. The Neustrashimy has already completed one anti-piracy mission in February 2009.
The frigate's armament includes SS-N-25 Switchblade anti-ship missiles, SA-N-9 Gauntlet SAM, a 100-mm gun, torpedoes and depth charges. The frigate also carries a Ka-27 ASW helicopter.
The Russian Navy has maintained a permanent presence off the Horn of Africa, with warships operating on a rotation basis. Russia joined international anti-piracy efforts off the Somali coast in October 2008.
Pirates based in Somalia, which has been without an effective government since 1991, hijacked more than 35 vessels in 2009, and have already seized two this year.
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