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13 Nov, 2008 15:21

Cypriot ship escapes pirates

Pirates have used guns and rocket launchers in an attack on a Cypriot vessel carrying a Russian crew onboard off the Somali coast. It’s reported the ship managed to put out a fire onboard and escape the hijackers.

Russia's Transport Ministry says pirates fired at the Cypriot-owned cargo ship Captain Maslov with grenade launchers and automatic weapons as it was heading from Colombo, Sri Lanka, to the Kenyan city of Mombasa on Thursday. It says the attack caused a fire in a cabin, but the freighter manoeuvred away from the pirates' boat.

The vessel's crew consists of 17 Russians, none of whom were injured.

The Russian warship Neustrashimy (Fearless) was sent to the area after a Ukrainian freighter Faina, carrying 21 crew members including two Russians and a cargo of battle tanks, was hijacked in September.

On Tuesday, Russia's navy said Russian and British ships had repelled a pirate attack on a Danish freighter in the Gulf of Aden. The British added that two suspected pirates were killed in the gun battle.