Russian warship to escort 12 merchant vessels in Gulf of Aden
MOSCOW, April 28 (RIA Novosti) - A Russian warship will escort 12 commercial vessels through the Somali pirate-infested waters of the Gulf of Aden, a Defense Ministry spokesman said on Wednesday.
He said the Pacific Fleet's Udaloy-class missile-armed destroyer Marshal Shaposhnikov would start the operation on Wednesday evening.
The Marshal Shaposhnikov, a large anti-submarine ship, has two helicopters and an infantry unit on board.
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 there.
The 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, Admiral Panteleyev and the Admiral Tributs destroyers. The Northern and Baltic fleets have also sent task forces to the region.
Somali pirates carried out a record number of attacks and hijackings in 2009. According to the Piracy Reporting Center of the International Maritime Bureau, a total of 217 vessels were attacked last year, resulting in 47 hijackings.
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