U.S. Navy and Russian warships arrested 26 suspected Somali pirates this week, Andrew Njuguna reports for AP.
The latest arrests came Thursday, when an American helicopter from the USS Vella Gulf fired warning shots at gunmen in two skiffs that had opened fire and tried to board the Indian-flagged vessel Premdivya. U.S. forces searched the skiff and found weapons including rocket-propelled grenades, then took nine suspected pirates aboard the American ship, the Bahrain-based 5th Fleet said. On Wednesday, the same American ship detained seven other suspected pirates — the Navy’s first arrests since it established an anti-piracy task force this year. The suspects, armed with AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenades, had tried to board the Marshall Islands-flagged vessel Polaris using a ladder from their skiff.
Separately, the Russian navy said Friday its nuclear-powered heavy missile cruiser Peter The Great detained 10 Somali pirates closing in on an Iranian-flagged fishing trawler. Russian military prosecutors were questioning the men, who were caught on Thursday with rifles, grenade-launchers, illegal narcotics and a large sum of money, the navy said.
So, not the coordinated effort that the YahooNews headline “US Navy, Russians seize 26 pirates off Somalia” suggests. Still, it demonstrates that the two countries can work in common cause when their interests overlap, despite having serious differences on other issues.
James Joyner is managing editor of the Atlantic Council.