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Piracy & Ship Attacks April 13, 2010

US Warship Captures Pirates After Gun Battle. US Navy has now captured 21 pirates since March 31, 2010

The US Third Fleet in a statement said pirates began shooting at the amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland about 380 miles (610 kilometers) off Djibouti.

The Navy said the Ashland returned fire and the suspected pirate skiff was destroyed. All six people on board were rescued and taken aboard the Ashland. The Ashland suffered no injuries or damages.

On March 31, the frigate USS Nicholas exchanged fire with a suspected pirate vessel west of the Seychelles, sinking their skiff and confiscating a mother ship. Five suspected pirates were captured.

And, the destroyer USS McFaul responded to the distress call from a merchant vessel and captured 10 other suspected pirates. The Navy said it was reviewing “multiple options” on the suspects' fates.

Some of the pirates have taken to Kenya to face trial. Meanwhile, many of the captured pirates are released due to some African nations not wanting to become a center for prosecutions. Russian has entered a draft resolution to the UN Security Council calling for the prosecution of pirates caught in the act of trying to capture a ship.

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South Korea government ordered its warship, CHUNGMUGONG YISUNSHIN, out of Somali waters after the owner of a hijacked South Korean supertanker, SAMHO DREAM, a 300,000 dwt VLCC began negotiations with its captors.

The navy destroyer had been trying to stop the pirates from taking the tanker into Somali waters but the risk of endangering the tanker’s crew prevented a military attack. The ship has a crew of five South Koreans and 19 Filipinos. It was seized in the Indian Ocean as it transiting from Iraq to the United States.

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Somali pirates have seized a cargo ship with 23 crew on board in the Indian Ocean April 11th, 2010. EU Naval Force said the 7,500-ton cargo ship RAK AFRIKANA was hijacked some 500 kilometers off the Seychelles Islands.

Pirates attacked and captured the vessel after it stopped due to engine problems. The EU Naval Force also said they had dispatched the Italian frigate SCIROCCO, which was in route when the ship was boarded by the pirates.

Meanwhile, the Chinese government made a statement saying the crew onboard the vessel were in fact from India, Pakistan and Tanzania, and not from China as was first reported.

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Bergen Shipping said its vessel the YASIN C, which was attacked last Wednesday by Somali pirates was abandoned after the crew locked themselves in the engine room.