Friday, January 30, 2009

French Navy Foils Somali Pirate Attack

Via AP -

The French navy on Tuesday foiled an attack on a cargo ship in the pirate-infested waters off Somalia and arrested nine men allegedly trying to board the vessel, the military said here.

The French frigate Le Floreal received a distress call from the African Ruby and dispatched a helicopter which spotted two high-speed skiffs with armed men on board, a military spokesman said.

The chopper fired warning shots and the nine men on the skiffs were later detained, he said, adding that the interception took place in international waters off Puntland, a semi-autonomous region of northeast Somalia.

It was not immediately known what country the African Ruby is registered in.

The French navy vessel is in the region as part of a European Union operation dubbed Atalanta -- a coalition that groups eight nations -- that began on December 8 to try to stem the flourishing piracy in the area.

Pirate attacks in waters east of Somalia -- the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean -- increased by nearly 200 percent last year to 111, according to the International Maritime Bureau.


According to this French Defense Ministry photo and Taiwan News article, the "African Ruby" is an Indian cargo ship.

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