GMA News Online
Pinoy Abroad

Norwegian warship to fight pirates off Somalia - report

September 22, 2008 5:26pm
OSLO, Norway - Norway’s new warship called Fridtjof Nansen will be deployed off the coast of Somalia to fight pirates operating in the area, according to Norwegian newspaper VG.

VG said the new super frigate would be stationed in the Gulf of Aden east of the mouth of the Red Sea by next spring. The Fridtjof Nansen is among the five Norwegian frigates that are being built in Spain by Nevanti Ship Yards.

On Sunday, pirates hijacked Greek ship MV Captain Stephanos with 19 crew members on board composed of 17 Filipinos, a Chinese, and a Ukranian.

Norway armed forces chief Sverre Diesen was quoted in the report as saying that the the first of the new frigates was tasked to guard the gulf against sea bandits.

Diesen reportedly said that a clear mandate from the UN and a political approval at home were needed for the project to go ahead.

The Gulf of Aden, along with the Straits of Malacca, has become the site of frequent pirate attacks, with 24 cases reported between April and June.

On Sept. 6, suspected Somali pirates attacked Norwegian tanker Front Voyager with Filipino and Russian seamen on board. The crew used water cannons to fend off the pirates from climbing up the tanker while waiting for the arrival of Danish Naval vessel Absalon that managed to capture the pirates.

On Aug. 21, Somali pirates held captive nine Filipinos and four other foreign nationals who were on board a German-owned container ship near the Gulf of Aden. They were freed after almost a month in captivity.

According to reports, the International Maritime Bureau received eight incidents of pirate attacks in African waters since the beginning of September. - Gloria Grejalde, GMANews.TV