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Moscow urges Somalia against provoking pirates holding Russians

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Russia's Foreign Ministry urged Somali authorities on Thursday not to take action that could jeopardize the safety of Russian and Filipino crew members aboard a Dutch vessel recently seized by pirates.
MOSCOW, May 29 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Foreign Ministry urged Somali authorities on Thursday not to take action that could jeopardize the safety of Russian and Filipino crew members aboard a Dutch vessel recently seized by pirates.

The cargo vessel Amiya Scan, under the flag of Antigua and Barbuda, was captured by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden on Monday with four Russians and five Filipinos on board. Local authorities dispatched forces on Wednesday to rescue the vessel.

"Following reports that the Somali government made a decision to use force" to release the crew of the vessel, seized on May 26, "Russia urges Somali authorities to refrain from any action that could put the lives of the crew in danger," the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry said it was in contact with the owner, Dutch Reider Shipping, and governments capable of assisting in the release of the sailors.

Ahmed Said Ownur, fisheries and water resources minister of Puntland, a breakaway region in the northeast of the African state, confirmed on Wednesday that a mission had been launched to release the ship by force and asked the ship owner not to pay ransom to the pirates.

Puntland security forces rescued a hijacked vessel from the United Arab Emirates last month, killing at least one pirate. Seven pirates were arrested.

Waters off the east African nation are considered among the most dangerous in the world.

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