WASHINGTON, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. navy arrested 9 more suspected pirates in the waters of the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia on Thursday -- the second such capture in two days, the U.S. military announced.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
The U.S. navy said in a written statement that U.S. warships on patrol in that area received a distress call from an Indian-flagged ship, which reported that it had been fired upon by a small skiff, and suspected pirates were attempting to board it.
A helicopter was then launched from the U.S. cruiser Vella Gulfand fired two warning shots at the skiff to force it to stop.
A navy boarding team investigated the skiff's crew and found rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons on board.
Nine suspected pirates were taken aboard Vella Gulf into custody.
On Wednesday, U.S. navy captured 7 suspected pirates in the Gulf of Aden.
The navy is now holding a total of 16 suspected pirates while the U.S. and Kenyan governments are working out legal details on how the suspects will be moved to Kenya for prosecution.
Last month, the United States and Kenya signed an agreement saying that suspected pirates captured by U.S. ships will be moved to Kenya to be tried for their crimes.
Piracy has become a chronic problem off the Horn of Africa in recent years, with some pirates operating from Somalia.
Pirates attacked nearly 100 vessels and hijacked as many as 40 in the waters off the coast of Somalia in 2008, according to the International Maritime Bureau.
Many countries have sent naval ships to the Gulf of Aden to combat piracy.
The U.S. navy has set up an anti-piracy "armada," of which the cruiser Vella Gulf is flagship.
Source: Xinhua, Feb 12, 2009