MOGADISHU: Russian and British forces teamed up with boats and helicopters to rescue a cargo ship from an attempted hijacking in the Gulf of Aden, then chased down the attackers and killed two of them in a gunbattle, military officials said Wednesday. Russian navy spokesman Capt. Igor Dygalo said the Russian missile frigate Neustrashimy and...
MOGADISHU: Russian and British forces teamed up with boats
and helicopters to rescue a cargo ship from an attempted hijacking in the
Gulf of Aden, then chased down the attackers and killed two of them in a
gunbattle, military officials said Wednesday.
Russian navy spokesman Capt. Igor Dygalo said the Russian missile frigate
Neustrashimy and the British frigate HMS Cumberland each sent up a helicopter
against the pirates as they tried to commandeer a Danish vessel on Tuesday.
It was the first action by a Russian warship sent to prevent hijackings off
“The pirates tried to hit the ship with automatic weapons fire and made
several attempts to seize it,” Dygalo said on state-run Vesti-24 television.
The British military said the Cumberland then sent boats to circle a
Yemeni-flagged dhow – a traditional wooden vessel – that apparently had been
involved in the attack on the Danish-registered MV Powerful and refused to
The crew of the dhow opened fire at the boats, but surrendered after the
British crews returned fire in self defense, the military said. A British
crew boarded the dhow and found that two suspected pirates, believed to be
Somalis, had been shot and killed, it said.
A Yemeni man also was found wounded and later died despite emergency
treatment, according to the British military. It said it was unclear whether
his injuries were as a result of the firefight or a previous incident
involving the pirates.
Russia sent the Neustrashimy, or Intrepid, to protect Russian ships and
crew off Somalia's coast after a Ukrainian freighter with three Russians
aboard – and loaded with battle tanks – was hijacked in September. Its
captain has died, and the 20 other crew are still being held aboard the MV
Attacks have continued virtually unabated off Somalia, which has had no
functioning government since 1991.
Turkish maritime officials said that pirates had commandeered the Karagol,
a Turkish tanker bound for India, on Wednesday, 16 miles (26 kilometers) off
the coast of Yemen. It was carrying 4,500 tons of chemicals and 14 Turkish
personnel. The total number of naval attacks off Somalia stood at 83 before
the Karagol was seized, with 33 ships hijacked and 12 still in pirates'
hands, most notably the Ukrainian freighter.
Britain on Wednesday proposed new sanctions against Somalia aimed at
stopping its burgeoning pirate trade and lawlessness that threaten a weak
U.N.-backed government. Under the proposal submitted to the U.N. Security
Council, nations would freeze the financial assets of some people and
entities, but not money intended for “basic expenses” like food and
The council plans to consider the new sanctions next week. Last month it
called on all countries with a stake in maritime safety off Somalia to send
naval ships and military aircraft to confront growing piracy there.
In June, the council unanimously adopted a resolution allowing ships of
foreign nations that cooperate with the Somali government to enter its
territorial waters “for the purpose of repressing acts of piracy and armed
robbery at sea.”
About 20,000 ships sail through the Gulf of Aden each year, compared to
13,000 that pass through the Panama Canal and 50,000 that traverse the
Straits of Malacca – formerly the most pirate-infested waterway in the world.
The Indian navy said Tuesday that its marine commandos operating from a
warship prevented pirates from hijacking an Indian merchant vessel in the
Gulf of Aden. The move was a significant step for the South Asian giant,
which is determined to translate its growing economic strength into global
military and political clout.
A NATO flotilla of seven vessels is also patrolling the Gulf of Aden to
help the U.S. 5th Fleet in anti-piracy patrols and to escort cargo vessels.
The 5th Fleet said that it has repelled about 2 dozen pirate attacks since
Aug 22. NATO officials said alliance warships have not fended off any attacks
on the merchant ships they are protecting.
The European Union has approved sending four to six ships backed by
aircraft to replace the NATO force in December. The Greek government approved
a plan Wednesday to contribute a frigate and hold the flotilla's rotating
In addition, a multinational force of warships from Denmark, the United
States, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Britain, Pakistan and Canada has
carved out a narrow protected shipping corridor off the coast of Somalia. The
British military said Tuesday's boarding took place 60 nautical miles (100
kilometers) south of the Yemeni coast and suggested it was in that corridor.
Associated Press writers Mohamed Olad Hassan reported from Mogadishu and
Steve Gutterman from Moscow. AP writers Slobodan Lekic in Brussels, Hadeel
al-Shalchi in Cairo, Raphael Satter in London and Suzan Fraser in Ankara,
Turkey, contributed to this report.