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Russian ships head home after anti-piracy duty off Somali coast


VLADIVOSTOK, June 9 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Pacific Fleet task force led by the Admiral Panteleyev destroyer is heading back to its base in Vladivostok after an anti-piracy mission in the Gulf of Aden, a Fleet statement said on Tuesday.

The Udaloy-class destroyer, accompanied by a salvage tugboat and two tankers, joined the anti-piracy campaign on April 27, 2009.

"A task force from the Pacific Fleet, which participated in an international anti-piracy mission in the Gulf of Aden, set a course for its home base in the port of Vladivostok. The arrival of the group is expected at the beginning of July," the statement said.

During the tour of duty, the Admiral Panteleyev escorted a total of 41 commercial vessels along the shipping lanes in the pirate-infested waters.

The destroyer in April seized a boat carrying 29 suspected pirates, believed to have been involved in the unsuccessful attack on a Russian-crewed oil tanker as it passed through the Gulf of Aden en route to Singapore.

The warship later prevented a pirate attack on a cargo vessel while escorting a convoy of six merchant ships through the Gulf of Aden.

The commander of Russia's Pacific Fleet, Vice Admiral Konstantin Sidenko, has issued an order for the preparation of a new task force to be sent on a tour of duty in the area which is currently patrolled by around 35 warships from the navies of 16 countries.

The task force will comprise a warship with two helicopters, a rescue tugboat, a tanker and a unit of naval infantry.

The ships will most likely depart for the Gulf of Aden at the beginning of July, and will be the fourth Russian grouping to join the international anti-piracy efforts off the Somali coast.

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