US Navy arrests nine pirates off African coast

February 13th, 2009 - 1:11 am ICT by IANS  

Manama, Feb 12 (DPA) The US Navy said Thursday it had arrested nine suspected pirates in the Gulf of Aden, a day after similar action netted seven pirates.
The guided-missile cruiser USS Vella Gulf apprehended the nine after responding to a distress call from a nearby merchant vessel, according to the Manama-based US Navy 5th Fleet Command.

“At approximately 4 a.m. local time, the Indian-flagged Motor Vessel Premdivya sent a distress call to all ships in the area reporting that she had been fired upon by a small skiff, and suspected pirates were attempting to board it,” a statement by the Fleet Command said.

It said a helicopter from the Vella Gulf signaled for the skiff to stop, but when it didn’t two warning shots were fired.

Once the suspected pirates brought the skiff to a halt, the Vella Gulf, and the guided-missile destroyer USS Mahan closed in and intercepted the skiff.

Naval personnel then conducted a search of the skiff and found weapons, the US Navy said.

“The suspected pirates were apprehended and brought on board Vella Gulf, where they were processed and are being held until they are transferred to a temporary holding facility on board the supply ship USNS Lewis and Clark,” the statement added.

The Vella Gulf detained nine suspected pirates Wednesday.

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