Korean, US ships rescue Egyptian ship attacked by pirates

May 15th, 2009 - 9:39 am ICT by IANS  

Sana’a (Yemen), May 15 (DPA) A South Korean warship and a US destroyer rescued an Egyptian ship and captured the 17 Somali pirates who attacked it off the coast of Yemen, the US Navy said Thursday.
The Korean destroyer ROKS Munmu the Great and US guided-missile cruiser USS Gettysburg responded to a distress call from the Egyptian-flagged MV Amira Wednesday after it was attacked by pirates, the US Navy’s Bahrain-based 5th Fleet said in a statement.

The Gettysburg and Munmu the Great, operating under the Turkish-led counter-piracy Combined Task Force 151 in the Gulf of Aden, sent helicopters and rushed to the Egyptian vessel’s location about 75 nautical miles south of the Yemeni port of Mukalla, the US Navy said.

A boarding team from the Gettysburg apprehended 17 suspected pirates on board a dhow ship suspected of serving as a pirate mothership, the US Navy said.

The US team found eight assault rifles, a rocket-propelled grenade launcher and one rocket-propelled grenade on the dhow, it said.

“Several assault rifle rounds and one rocket propelled grenade round struck M/V Amira resulting in little to no damage to the ship,” the statement said.

It said the pirates had thrown a rope at the Egyptian ship in an attempt to board it, but their attempt failed and they abandoned the attack.

The pirates were brought on board the US destroyer for further questioning.

Piracy off Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden has surged in recent years as Somalia descends further into chaos and unrest.

The waterway, which is one of the world’s most important sea lanes and an important thoroughfare for goods heading from Asia to Europe, has seen an unprecedented rise in piracy in recent years.

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