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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russian destroyer escorts new commercial convoy off African coast

RIA Novosti

02:25 09/10/2010

MOSCOW, October 9 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian destroyer RFS Admiral Levchenko started on Friday escorting a convoy of nine civilian ships through the pirate-infested waters off the Somali coast, a Russian Defense Ministry's spokesman said.

"Admiral Levchenko has started escorting a convoy of four civilian ships with a total of nine Russian nationals as crew members through dangerous areas off the Horn of Africa and in the Gulf of Aden," the spokesman said.

A task force led by the Northern Fleet's Admiral Levchenko, an Udaloy class guided-missile destroyer, arrived in the Gulf of Aden on July 3 to join the international anti-piracy mission near Somalia. The Russian naval group also includes the Olekma tanker and the SB-36 tugboat of Russia's Black Sea Fleet.

The Russian Navy has maintained a presence off the Horn of Africa with warships operating on a rotation basis. Russia joined international anti-piracy efforts in the area in October 2008.

According to the London-based International Maritime Bureau, the number of pirate attacks worldwide decreased in the first half of 2010 by 34 percent year-on-year mostly due to the ongoing anti-piracy operation off the Somali coast.

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