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Russian warship ready to fight pirates off Somali coast

Russian warship ready to fight pirates off Somali coast 15.10.2008 Source: en.rian.ru

A missile frigate from Russia's Baltic Fleet is ready to fight piracy off the Somali coast together with warships from other countries, an aide to the Russian Navy commander said on Tuesday.

When the Neustrashimy (Fearless) arrives in the region, "it will, in conjunction with warships from other states, work to minimize the threat of pirate attacks," Capt. 1st Rank Igor Dygalo said.

He added that the frigate was currently heading to Somalia from the Mediterranean.

The Navy earlier said that the Neustrashimy would ensure the safety of Russian vessels passing through the area against pirate attacks.

Last week, Somali Ambassador to Russia Mohamed Handule said his country's president, Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, had authorized Russia's military to fight pirates both off Somalia's coast and on land.

Pirates are increasingly active in the waters off Somalia, which has no effective government and no navy to police its coastline. The International Maritime Bureau said more than 30 incidents of piracy were registered in the region in 2007. More than 30 attacks have been committed so far this year off the coast of the east African nation.

Somali pirates recently hijacked a Ukrainian ship, MV Faina, carrying at least 33 tanks and other heavy weaponry. Six U.S. warships are currently surrounding the Faina.

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