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May 6, 2010

Russian Navy frees hijacked Novoship tanker

Novoship announced this morning that the Russian warship Marshal Shaposhnikov had freed the tanker Moscow University, seized by pirates yesterday.

All members of the tanker crew alive and well.

Novoship says the key point for a decision to retake the vessel was confidence that the crew was in a safe place, inaccessible to pirates, and the life and health of seafarers not in danger.

Novoship praised the skillful and timely action of tanker captain George Igorevich Tulchinsky who led them to the crew and said the pirates were unable to take hostage even a single crew member.

RT reports that as a result of the rescue efforts, 10 pirates have been captured and one killed.

"The large submarine-hunter ‘Marshal Shaposhnikov’ of Russia's Pacific Navy carried out an operation to free the ‘Moscow University’ tanker. It ended with an assault by marines; Russia regained control of the tanker and set free all 23 crewmembers; none of them was hurt. 10 pirates have been detained. Several pirates have been wounded and one has been killed," RT reports Vladimir Markin, spokesman for the Investigations Committee of the Russian Prosecutor General's Office, as saying.

EU Navfor says that when the warship arrived it sent a helicopter to investigate. The helicopter was fired upon and the Russian forces returned fire, knowing that the crew members were in a secure location. Eventually, the pirates surrendered and Russian Marines boarded the ship.

NOTE: Gunfire was exchanged without causing the tanker's cargo to explode. This would seem to remove one argument that has been advanced against putting armed security teams on merchant ships.


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