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US navy saves Indian ship from pirate attack

February 13, 2009 03:23 IST

Suspected pirates on Thursday attempted to hijack an Indian ship in the Gulf of Aden, but were apprehended by a United States missile cruiser, which 'quickly' responded to the merchant vessel's distress call.

The Indian-flagged Motor Vessel Premdivya sent a distress call reporting that she had been fired by a small skiff and suspected pirates were attempting to board it. The guided missile cruiser USS Vella Gulf intercepted the call and a navy copter signaled for the skiff to stop immediately by firing two warning shots, the US Fifth Fleet said in a statement.

Soon, teams from Vella Gulf and the guided missile destroyer USS Mahan apprehended the pirates after they brought the skiff to a complete stop. A search was carried out by the teams and weapons seized, it said.

This is the second apprehension of suspected pirates by the Vella Gulf in less than 24 hours, after another group of seven were arrested from the same region, for a hijack bid on a Marshall Islands-flagged ship.

The suspected pirates, whose nationality was not given, are being held on board the Vella Gulf until they are transferred to a temporary holding facility inboard the US naval supply ship Lewis and Clark.

Pirates attacked over 130 merchant ships in the Gulf of Aden last year, according to the International Maritime Bureau, which tracks piracy and shipping security issues.

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