Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Forces Search For Pirate Ship

American-led coalition forces operating on the coast of Somalia are looking for a vessel that is believed to be used by pirates to launch attacks on commercial ships passing through the area, the Nation has learnt. The coalition forces have a description of the pirates' vessel, the deputy commander of French Naval ship Commandant Blaison, Lieutenant Vidaine Bojeau, said yesterday. "This is the vessel that we believe has been used by pirates off the Coast of Somalia to attack commercial vessels," she said when she accompanied the French ambassador, Ms Elisabeth Barbier, during a courtesy call on Mombasa Mayor Ahmed Mwidani.The courtesy call was meant to announce the arrival of the ship in Mombasa with a crew of 95. Lt Bojeau said the coalition forces got the description of the ship from those that had been attacked. "Others that have been trailed and feared an attack gave us the same description and as we speak, the coalition partners are searching for the vessels. "Since we are now in Mombasa since Monday it is difficult to say whether she has been found or not," she said. The Coast of Somalia has been declared the most dangerous piracy zone in the world by both the United Nation's International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and the International Chamber of Commerce's International Maritime Bureau (IMB). The French vessel arrived in Mombasa on Monday and is expected to leave for Somalia on Friday, she said. The crew is in the port town to unwind after joining the forces on July 27, this year.
They expect to be in the area till October 20, 2007, she said. Mayor Mwidani welcomed the crew and said he was pleased with the decision to call on Mombasa Port and spend time in the town. "This is a sign of confidence by the French government in Mombasa and we are willing to make your stay here safe, secure and entertaining," said the mayor. The Commandant Blaison guided Danish ship Danica White and crew to safety in Djibouti after its capture and release by pirates, said Lt Bojeau. The French ship participates in various operations that include patrols and defence of the national naval borders and the French concerns overseas.

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