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  Wednesday, February 26, 2020
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Russian warships will continue patrolling pirate-infested waters off the Somali coast
Russian warships will continue patrolling pirate-infested waters off the Somali coast to ensure the safety of commercial shipping in the area, Russia's defense minister said on Wednesday.

"The Russian Navy will continue patrols in the Gulf of Aden. A new convoy of commercial ships is being formed in the area, and our warships will escort it," Anatoly Serdyukov told reporters in Moscow.

The minister also confirmed the detention of a pirate vessel off the Somali coast by a Russian warship.

The Admiral Panteleyev missile destroyer, which joined anti-paracy operations in the Gulf of Aden on April 27, detained a boat carrying 29 suspected pirates off the Somali coast at about 6 p.m. Moscow time (14:00 GMT) on Tuesday.

The Defense Ministry said a Ka-27 helicopter from the Admiral Panteleyev fired warning shots after the pirate boat refused to stop and surrender.

A search of the detained vessel turned up seven Kalashnikov assault rifles and several handguns, as well as portable navigation equipment, fuel canisters and a large number of spent cartridges.

"According to preliminary information, there were Somali pirates and Iranian and Pakistani fishermen on board the boat. We will decide soon what to do with them," Serdyukov said.

A senior Russian navy official said earlier on Wednesday the navy was holding talks with littoral states along the Gulf of Aden as it looked to hand over the pirates.

"We are holding talks with foreign officials on the pirates," the official said. "We plan to hand them over to a regional country soon for investigation."

The Admiral Panteleyev is an Udaloy-class missile destroyer armed with anti-ship missiles, 30-mm and 100-mm guns, and Ka-27 Helix helicopters.

The warship replaced another Russian destroyer, the Admiral Vinogradov, which joined the anti-piracy operation off the coast of Somalia at the beginning of January.

During its mission, which ended in mid-March, the Admiral Vinogradov destroyer escorted 12 convoys comprising a total of 54 ships from 17 countries, and thwarted several pirate attacks on various vessels.


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