Russian warship escorts another convoy in Gulf of Aden
MOSCOW, April 16 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian Udaloy class missile destroyer Marshal Shaposhnikov is escorting four civilian vessels off the coast of Somalia, a Russian Navy spokesman said.
A Russian Pacific Fleet task force comprising the Marshal Shaposhnikov, the MB-37 salvage tug and the Pechenga tanker arrived in the Gulf of Aden on March 29 to join the anti-piracy mission in the region.
The destroyer, which has two naval helicopters and a unit of naval infantry on board, has already escorted two commercial convoys comprising a total of 27 ships in pirate-infested waters off the Somali coast.
Russia joined international anti-piracy efforts in the region in October 2008. The Russian Navy has maintained a near-permanent presence off the Horn of Africa since then, with warships operating on a rotation basis.
The current task force is the fourth group of warships from the Russian Pacific Fleet engaged in the anti-piracy mission off Somalia, with the previous three task forces led by the Admiral Vinogradov, the Admiral Panteleyev and the Admiral Tributs destroyers. The Northern and Baltic fleets have also sent their warships to the region.
According to official data, Somali pirates carried out 217 attacks on commercial ships in 2009, hijacking 47 vessels and taking 867 crew members as hostages. They hijacked at least 12 ships since the beginning of 2010.
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