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INDIAN OCEAN: Somali pirates may be widening their hunting area

Pirates4

Are Somali pirates roaming farther from home to avoid the U.S.-led multinational force?

A story by the American Forces Press Service suggests that the pirates are plying their trade in the Indian Ocean now that Task Force 151 is patrolling their more traditional hunting area in the Gulf of Aden.

In the last week, pirates seized two chemical tankers in the Indian Ocean: one Bahamian-flagged and  Norwegian-owned, the other Panamanian-flagged and Greek-owned.

One seizure was 380 nautical miles from Somalia, the other 490 miles, making them the farthest yet from the Gulf of Aden.

Last year, pirates seized 42 ships, but 80 "piracy events" were thwarted. The score this year: 11 seizures, 37 failures.

"This appears to be a new round of attacks," a Navy spokesman told the press service.

-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: Somali pirates in Gulf of Aden. Credit: U.S. Navy

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