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Page last updated at 16:47 GMT, Friday, 3 October 2008 17:47 UK

Russia call to halt Somali piracy

Hijacked MV Faina, 29 September 2008
Pirates wants a $20m ransom for the Ukrainian ship and its cargo

Russia's foreign minister has called for joint international action to halt pirate attacks off the Horn of Africa.

"Russia aims to stop the outrageous actions of Somali pirates," Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

A Russian warship has already been despatched to Somali waters following last week's seizure of a Ukrainian ship laden with 33 Russian-made tanks.

The pirates are demanding a $20m (£11m) ransom for the vessel which is surrounded by US navy warships.

On Thursday, the European Union agreed to establish an anti-piracy security operation off the coast of Somalia to become operational in November.

Mr Lavrov said the Russians would participate in international efforts to halt the piracy and called for a UN resolution to tackle the problem.

Map

He said Malaysia was also sending frigates to join the US warships surrounding the pirates.

According to Russia's Itar-Tass news agency, the Russian warship Neustrashimy is to commence patrols in the Gulf of Aden on 6 November.

The warship is reported to be carrying marines and commandoes on board.

The Ukrainian vessel - the Faina - was carrying T-72 tanks, rifles and heavy weapons when it was seized last week and is being held off the coast, near the town of Hobyo.

Most of the 20 crew are Ukrainian or Latvian; one Russian has reportedly died of illness.

The ship is surrounded by US warships, which are not allowing the heavy weapons to be taken off the ship.

Piracy off the coast of Somalia has cost up to $30m (£17m) in ransoms so far this year, a report has said.




SEE ALSO
Life in Somalia's pirate town
18 Sep 08 |  Africa
Country profile: Somalia
18 Jun 08 |  Country profiles

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