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calendar   Thursday - May 06, 2010

Schooled

Spetnaz forces rescue hijacked Russian tanker ship

1 pirate dead, 10 captured and “injured”



Dear Somalia: Pay attention, class is in session. Today’s lesson: the bear has teeth and will bite you if you mess with him.



Russian forces freed a hijacked Russian oil tanker and rescued its crew in a helicopter-backed operation on Thursday that killed a Somali pirate, authorities said.

Russian investigators said 10 captured pirates, who seized the China-bound MV Moscow University in the Gulf of Aden, will be brought to Moscow for prosecution.

They hijacked the tanker on Wednesday with its 23-member crew and a cargo of crude oil worth $52 million. Its rescue will please the Kremlin, which has been seeking to revive Russia’s naval muscle far from its shores despite limited resources.

“Measures are being undertaken to bring the detained pirates to Moscow,” the Investigative Committee of the Prosector General’s office said on official site sledcomproc.ru.

The European Union’s naval force said the Russian warship Marshal Shaposhnikov had sent in a helicopter that returned fire after being shot at by pirates.

Eventually the pirates surrendered and a boarding team from the Marshal Shaposhnikov arrived on board the tanker, an EU naval statement said.

A spokeswoman for the tanker’s owner, Novorossiysk Shipping Company, said the crew survived the 20-hour siege by hiding in a safe room that was inaccessible to the hijackers.

The Russian Investigative Committee statement said that one pirate was in fact killed and that some of the 10 who were captured were injured.



The fortunes of a band of Somali pirates quickly changed Thursday when a Russian warship opened fire on a hijacked oil tanker, freeing the crew and arresting the bandits, who a day earlier had raced across the Indian Ocean to seize a cargo valued at more than $50 million.

The high-seas battle unfolded after 23 crewmen on the tanker Moscow University sent a distress call and hid from the pirates in a sealed rudder compartment. A Russian destroyer closed in and special forces stormed the vessel at dawn, after marauders shot at a surveillance helicopter, according to the anti-piracy European Union Naval Force.

“The Russian warship, knowing the crew was locked down and safe, returned fire on the pirates,” said a statement released by the EU force. “Eventually the pirates surrendered and a boarding team from the Marshal Shaposhnikov [warship] arrived onboard the tanker, captured all the pirates and freed the crew. All the crew are safe and well.”

Russia’s state-run RIA Novosti news services reported that one pirate was killed and 10 were arrested.

The rescue operation was stunning, ending an ordeal less than 24 hours after pirates seized the 106,474-ton tanker about 350 miles off the Yemeni Island of Socotra.



The Russians are willing to bring major weapons to bear on their own oil tanker. Damn the possible environmental consequences. Stopping the hijackers is more important. Even better is how their leader handled the situation. The instant the tanker was rescued, President Medvedev was calling for stronger punishment for piracy and promising some old school smackdown.

Until a legal system allowing hijackers to be punished is created, “we will have to act as our forefathers did when they met pirates”, the Russian president said. “Of course, we will fight pirates with the full force of the naval law.”

The president did not specify how exactly the pirates should be punished.

And instead of ordering a courts martial for any of the sailors who may have accidentally busted a pirate nose or two, Medvedev is handing out medals. Immediately.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday praised the Defense Ministry for freeing the Russian tanker Moscow University from pirates and requested that all servicemen who took part in the operation be put forward for awards.

“Fine fellows, well done. I ask you to prepare awards for all our servicemen who played a hand in accurately, professionally and quickly freeing the tanker,” Medvedev told the Russian defense minister.

And I agree. They deserve it. Especially when you learn just how fast they took down the bad guys. 22 minutes, start to finish. Outstanding.

Assuming the captured pirates even make it to Russia alive, they will be tried, found guilty, and executed immediately. Period. No ifs, ands, or buts, no “civil rights”, and no sympathy. Bang. Dead. Maybe even on Russian TV? One can only hope.

And word will get back to Somalia real fast that you just don’t mess with ships flying that particular flag. This lesson might take a few iterations to sink in, but watch pirate attacks on Russian ships drop to almost nothing real soon.

The rescue was carried out by the Russian anti-submarine Udaloy class destroyer Marshal Shaposhnikov.
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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 05/06/2010 at 10:33 AM   
Filed Under: • Pirates, aarrgh! •  
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