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Russia sending more ships in pirate crackdown

  • Story Highlights
  • Russia is sending additional ships to the Horn of Africa to battle pirates
  • A NATO-led international fleet has attempted to crack down on the attacks
  • More than 90 ships have been attacked off eastern Africa so far this year
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(CNN) -- Russia will send additional ships to the Horn of Africa in an effort to crack down on the recent wave of hijackings by Somalia-based pirates, its navy chief said Thursday.

The Russian frigate Neustrashimy is already in the region and has helped repel pirate attacks on at least two ships. Adm. Vladimir Vysotsky told the official news agency Ria Novosti that more ships would be joining it soon.

"After Neustrashimy, Russia will be sending warships from other fleets to this region," Vysotsky said. No additional details were provided.

A NATO-led international fleet has attempted to crack down on the attacks. An Indian frigate battled a pirate ship in the Gulf of Aden on Tuesday, leaving the ship ablaze and likely sunk, the country's defense ministry reported.

In September, Vysotsky said Russian ships would be operating on their own. But the crews of the Neustrashimy and the British frigate HMS Cumberland teamed up to chase off pirates who attacked a Danish ship in the gulf earlier this month. Video Watch more about the pirates' tactics »

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More than 90 ships have been attacked off eastern Africa so far this year, according to the International Maritime Bureau, which monitors piracy. The pirates, who operate from largely lawless Somalia, still hold 17 vessels -- including the Saudi-owned supertanker Sirius Star, the largest ship captured to date.

The pirates typically hold the ships and their crews for ransom, and Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal said Wednesday that the tanker's owners were in talks with the hijackers.

"We do not like to negotiate with either terrorists or hijackers, but the owners of the tanker are the owners of the tanker and they are the final arbiters of what happens there." See where pirates are operating »


Two of the 25 crew members aboard the Sirius Star are Britons, Peter French and James Grady. The British Foreign Office released a statement on their families' behalf Thursday, saying they "greatly appreciate the concern that has been expressed." Video Watch Maersk CEO describe risks to shipping »

"They hope that Peter and James will be home safely to their families very soon," the statement said.

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