Navy Seizes Suspected Pirate Ship

Monday, January 23, 2006
The Norfolk, Va.-based USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81) seized a suspected pirate ship 87 km (54 nm) off the coast of Somalia. The Navy says the vessel stopped 54 miles off the coast of Somalia after the Churchill fired warning shots. U-S sailors boarded the ship and confiscated small arms. The ship (a dhow) is suspected of having fired on a merchant vessel passing off the coast of Somalia. There were 16 Indians and 10 Somalis aboard the dhow, along with various small arms. The Navy says U.S. sailors boarded the suspected pirate ship in the Indian Ocean and detained the 26 men for questioning. Sailors aboard the pirate ship told Navy investigators that pirates hijacked their vessel six days ago near Mogadishu and used it to stage attacks on merchant ships. The Churchill is part of a multinational task force patrolling the western Indian Ocean and Horn of Africa region.

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