A task force from Russia’s Northern Fleet, led by the Udaloy class destroyer Vice Admiral Kulakov, will arrive in the Gulf of Aden in the beginning of May to join an anti-piracy mission off the Somali coast.
The destroyer has a military investigator on board to provide legal assistance for the Russian mission in case the task force encounters pirate vessels while escorting commercial ships.
“The investigator has been certified in the international maritime law and has all necessary forensic equipment to conduct investigations,” a spokesman for the Main Military Investigative Department told RIA Novosti on Wednesday.
On the way to the Gulf of Aden, the Northern Fleet’s task force will make an official visit to the Spanish exclave of Ceuta in North Africa on April 16-18 and the port of Souda on Crete on April 23-26.
It will stop at the port of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia on May 2-5 to replenish water and food supplies before arriving in the Gulf of Aden.
The new task force will replace the Russian Pacific Fleet’s task force headed by the Admiral Tributs destroyer, which completed its anti-piracy mission off the Somali coast on Monday and set sail for its home base in Vladivostok.
The Admiral Tributs, the Pechenega tanker and a rescue tugboat arrived in the Gulf of Aden on January 12 and escorted five convoys of commercial ships since then.
Task forces from the Russian Navy, usually led by Udaloy class destroyers, operate in the area on a rotating basis.
Russian warships have successfully escorted more than 130 commercial vessels from various countries through pirate-infested waters off the Somali coast since 2008, when Russia joined the international anti-piracy mission in the region.
Russian frigate, the Neustrashimy (Fearless), seized a boat with seven pirates during an operation to thwart an attack on the Ariella merchant ship in the Gulf of Aden in February 2010.
The Russian warships have also thwarted pirate attacks on the Ocean Diamond dry cargo ship and the United Emblem tanker in the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.