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Russia offers help in fighting sea piracy in Gulf of Guinea

RIA Novosti

04:59 20/10/2011 UNITED NATIONS, October 20 (RIA Novosti) - Russia is ready to join international efforts to curb sea piracy in the Gulf of Guinea where about 30 attacks on commercial ships have been registered since the beginning of 2011, Russia's envoy to the UN Vitaly Churkin said.

Speaking at the Security Council meeting on Growing Piracy Problem in Gulf of Guinea on Wednesday, Churkin expressed serious concern at the upsurge of crime at sea off the west coast of Africa, some of which directly affected Russian citizens.

In one of the recent attacks, Nigerian pirates seized the MT Cape Bird, a tanker with a crew of 20, including five Russians, in waters off Lagos on October 8. The crew was released on October 14.

“These attacks are a serious crime that threatens security, including the security and safety of Russian citizens, and we intend to make this problem our priority,” Churkin said, adding that a coordinated anti-piracy strategy with West and Central African states was needed.

“We are ready to consider possible cooperation with these countries and regional blocs based on Russia’s own experience in the area,” the diplomat said.

Russia has been successfully fighting sea piracy off the Somali coast since 2008. Task forces from the Russian Navy, usually led by Udaloy class destroyers, operate in the area on a rotating basis.

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