Sea Transportation: U.S. Warship Captures Somali Pirates


January 24, 2006: A U.S. destroyer, the USS Winston S Churchill, spotted a suspicious vessel off Somalia on January 21st. The Churchill was part of a naval patrol off the Horn of Africa. The Churchill found the vessel 86 kilometers off the coast of northern Somalia, and shadowed it for eight hours before sending two warning shots in front of it, and then boarding. There were 16 Indians and ten Somalis aboard. The Indians said they had been captured by pirates off Mogadishu on the 15th and forced to accompany the Somalis as they sought out other ships to capture. Normally, the American naval patrol, which includes ships from other countries, does not patrol off Somalia, but covers the western Indian Ocean and Djibouti, looking for terrorist activity. A new anti-piracy communications network, covering the area from Indonesia to the African coast, apparently provided a tip that this ship might be involved in piracy. The American naval patrols are apparently trying to keep the Somali pirates from extending their operations north towards Djibouti.


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