Babylon & Beyond

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GULF OF ADEN: U.S. holding 16 supected pirates; Russians grab 10 more

February 14, 2009 |  2:22 pm


Sixteen suspected pirates captured by U.S. ships have been transferred to the United States Naval Ship Lewis and Clark while officials decide whether they will be released or sent to Kenya for trial.

The 16 suspects, believed to be Somalis, were captured by the guided missile ship Vella Gulf, operating as the flagship of a multinational anti-piracy task force based in the Gulf of Aden.

The Lewis and Clark, an ammunition and dry cargo ship manned by civilian sailors and Navy personnel, will serve as a floating detention center while facts are sorted out. While arresting the suspected pirates, U.S. sailors seized a cache of weapons including a rocket-propelled grenade launcher.

Meanwhile, a Russian ship also seized 10 suspected pirates in the region.

--Tony Perry, San Diego

Photo: Suspected pirates during capture by U.S. force. Credit: Department of Defense.