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    New Russian anti-piracy task force arrives in Gulf of Aden

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    A Russian Pacific Fleet task force arrived on Monday in the Gulf of Aden to join the anti-piracy mission off the Somali coast.

    A Russian Pacific Fleet task force arrived on Monday in the Gulf of Aden to join the anti-piracy mission off the Somali coast, a fleet's spokesman said.

    The task force comprises an Udaloy-class missile destroyer, Marshal Shaposhnikov, a salvage tug and a tanker.

    "The fourth task force from the Pacific Fleet, which departed from Vladivostok on February 24, has arrived to the Somali coast," the spokesman said.

    The Russian vessels will join the international naval force in the area to protect commercial ships from frequent pirate attacks.

    According to the official, the Marshal Shaposhnikov destroyer has two naval helicopters and a unit of naval infantry on board.

    "The first convoy of commercial vessels to be escorted by the new task force is being formed in the Gulf of Aden," he said.

    The Russian Navy has maintained a permanent presence off the Horn of Africa, with warships operating on a rotation basis. Russia joined international anti-piracy efforts off the Somali coast in October 2008.

    The task force is the fourth group of warships from the Russian Pacific Fleet engaged in the anti-piracy mission off Somalia, with the previous three task forces led by the Admiral Vinogradov, Admiral Panteleyev and the Admiral Tributs destroyers.

    During the tour of duty, the Pacific Fleet groups escorted a total of over 100 commercial vessels from 26 countries along the shipping lanes in the Gulf of Aden, and thwarted over 20 pirate attacks.

    VLADIVOSTOK, March 29 (RIA Novosti)

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