Archive for Sunday, March 19, 2006

U.S. Navy warships battle suspected pirates

March 19, 2006


— Two U.S. Navy warships exchanged gunfire with suspected pirates Saturday off the coast of Somalia, and one suspect was killed and five others were wounded, the navy said.

Seven other suspects were taken into custody after the early-morning shootout, said Lt. Cmdr. Charlie Brown, spokesman for the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet.

No sailors were wounded in the battle, which occurred at about 5:40 a.m. local time, approximately 25 nautical miles off the Somali coast in international waters.

The battle started after the USS Cape St. George and USS Gonzalez, which were patrolling as part of a Dutch-led task force, spotted a 30-foot fishing boat towing smaller skiffs and prepared to board and inspect the vessels.

The suspected pirates were holding what appeared to be rocket-propelled grenade launchers, the navy said. When the suspects began shooting, naval gunners returned fire with mounted machine guns, killing one man and igniting a fire on the vessel.

The suspects' nationalities were unknown.


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