Friday, February 13, 2009

Three for three: Russian Navy captures Somali pirates

For the third day running, suspected pirates have been apprehended in the waters off the Horn of Africa, this time by personnel from the Russian Navy's cruiser Pyotr Veliky (Peter The Great, in English). The BBC reports a helicopter from the nuclear-powered warship spotted three small boats in the seas southeast of Socotra, a Yemeni island in the approaches to the Gulf of Aden. A Russian navy spokesman, Igor Dygalo, is quoted as saying that, "It was visually established how weapons were being dumped from the boats into the sea."

Personnel from the cruiser then seized the small boats and took ten suspected pirates into custody. All are reported to be Somali. Also seized were "weapons including grenade launchers and automatic rifles as well as a quantity of a 'narcotic substance'".

(FYI: The Pyotr Veliky is a Kirov-class battlecruiser and the flagship of the Russian Navy's Northern Fleet. Excepting aircraft carriers, these warships are the largest naval assests afloat.)

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