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EU naval force disrupts pirate action group

10-21-2010 15:23 BJT

NAIROBI, Oct. 21 (Xinhua) -- European Union anti-piracy force said on Thursday it has disrupted a Pirate Action Group (PAG) comprising of three vessels and 12 pirates along the coast of Somalia.

A statement from the EU Narvfor said its warship FS DE Grasse which was conducting a patrol along the Somali coastline on Wednesday spotted and intercepted a pirate action group comprising of two skiffs and one whaler, thereby averting a future attack. "On spotting the suspect vessels, FS DE Grasse immediately launched her helicopter to investigate. After several warning shots were fired, the suspected pirates stopped their skiffs and a boarding of the vessels was carried out by a team from the warship, " it said.

Naval Force spokesman Lt. Col Per Klingvall said shortly after the boarding, the helicopter saw and stopped the whaler, which is believed to have, being used to provide logistic support to the pirate skiffs. "In total, twelve suspected pirates were on board the three intercepted vessels as well as large quantities of fuels and food, allowing extend time at sea. Quantities of weapons were seen to be thrown overboard as the boarding team approached," he said.

Klingvall said the absence of flagrante delicto did not make it possible to pursue prosecution, noting that the whaler was destroyed and suspected pirates were sent back to Somalia. "This disruption has hampered pirate action and avoided highly probable attacks on merchant and vulnerable vessels," Klingvall said.

Somalia is at the entrance to the Gulf of Aden, which leads to the Red Sea and the Suez Canal, one of the world's most important shipping channels.

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