MOSCOW, January 29 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Admiral
Vinogradov destroyer is escorting five foreign vessels through
the pirate-infested waters of the Gulf of Aden, Navy Captain
1st Rank Igor Dygalo said on Thursday.
The Admiral Vinogradov is operating within the framework
of an EU anti-piracy operation, dubbed Atalanta, to protect
shipping lanes off the Horn of Africa against Somali pirates.
Its charges are a Liberian vessel, a Caiman tanker,
Singaporean tanker, a Lithuanian vessel and a Russian ship.
The destroyer took over escort duties as planned earlier
this month from the Neustrashimy frigate, which is returning to
its base in Kaliningrad having escorted over 20 convoys since
it was deployed to the region in October 2008.
Pirates have been increasingly active in the waters off
East Africa, where over 120 ships were attacked last year, with
around 35 vessels, including 600 crew members, seized. Somalia
has been without a functioning government since 1991.