Russian Forces Storm Oil Tanker, Pirate Killed
May 10, 2010
A Russian warship hunted down an oil tanker hijacked by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean and Special Forces boarded the tanker, resulting in a gun battle with the pirates. The pirates eventually surrendered. One pirate was killed, three others were hurt and ten were arrested, the Associated Press reports. The twenty-three Russian sailors on board were freed. The rescue came a day after pirates seized the tanker, which was heading toward China carrying $50 million worth of crude. The Russian destroyer Marshal Shaposhnikov fired warning shots from its large-caliber machine gun, undeterred by the tanker''s flammable cargo of 86,000 tons of crude. The Russian navy decided to move in with weapons after determining the crew had taken refuge in a safe room. Safe rooms, where crews seek shelter, are typically stocked with food, water and communications equipment and have reinforced doors that can only be opened from the inside. International military forces have been more aggressively combating piracy, which has flourished off the coast of lawless Somalia into a multimillion-dollar industry. EU Naval Force ships are disrupting pirate groups and destroying their ships at a much higher rate than in previous years. U.S. warships have fired back on pirates and destroyed their boats in several skirmishes in the last several weeks. The pirates were to be taken to Moscow to face criminal. Still, pirates are holding more than 300 hostages taken from ships off East Africa in the last several months. The U.N. office on Drugs and Crime said that the island nation of Seychelles would establish a regional center for the prosecution of piracy. The court will accept the transfer of suspects from the EU Naval Force, while a joint EU-U.N. program will help ensure the country''s police, prosecutors, courts and prisons have adequate resources.