U.S. Navy rescues Tanzanian ship, nabs 8 pirates

February 23, 2010 08:53

(Reuters) – A U.S. Navy warship prevented an attack on a Tanzanian ship and apprehended eight suspected pirates in the process, the U.S. Embassy in Tanzania said on Tuesday.

USS Farragut dispatched an SH-60B Seahawk helicopter to MV Barakaale 1 after it raised a distress call saying it was under attack from a gang on a skiff, the embassy said in a statement.

“The helicopter then stopped the … skiff as it attempted to speed away, by firing warning shots across its bow,” it said.

“A boarding team from USS Farragut boarded the vessel and the eight suspected pirates were taken aboard the Farragut.”

The statement did not say when and where the incident occurred, nor give the pirates’ nationalities. The USS Farragut is a guided missile destroyer and part of Combined Task Force 151 that patrols the Gulf of Aden and the east coast of Somalia.

The task force, formed in 2009, comprises about three dozen ships from Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Pakistan, Canada, Denmark, Turkey, United States and United Kingdom among other countries.

The coast off Somalia is among the world’s most dangerous shipping lanes.

The number of piracy attacks worldwide jumped by 40 percent last year, with gunmen from the failed Horn of Africa state accounting for more than half the 406 reported incidents, according to the International Maritime Bureau.

(Reporting by Abdiaziz Hassan; Editing by George Obulutsa and Jon Hemming)

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