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NATO Warship Sinks Somali Pirate Mothership

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A Danish warship deployed of the coast of Somalia as a part of the ongoing NATO anti-piracy mission there has sunk a pirate mothership in the Indian Ocean, said a statement released by the NATO forces.

According to a NATO press release, Absalon, a Danish attack support ship engaged in NATO's counter-piracy efforts, "disrupted a piracy attack in the Somali basin on Sunday and then scuttled a mother ship."

The statement said the vessel sank Sunday was used as a mother ship by Somali pirates for transportation of speedboats employed to carry out attacks on commercial ships. It added that the mother-ship was sunk after the Danish forces on the warship evacuated the pirates from the vessel.

The Somali coast, particularity the Gulf of Aden, has been infected with piracy in recent years. More than 160 pirate attacks have been reported in the waters off Somalia last year. The pirates have managed to hijack at least 34 vessels, and are currently holding some 10 ships and 200 hostages. Generally, the crew and the vessels are returned unharmed on receiving the demanded ransom.

Somalia has been without a functioning government since the fall of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre's government in 1991. Currently, a weak UN-backed interim government under President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed is trying to enforce its authority in the country, most of which is controlled by various Islamist insurgent groups.

Pirate attacks off the Somali coast have continued despite the presence of several warships, deployed by navies of the NATO, the European Union, Russia, China, South Korea and India, in the region to protect cargo and cruise ships against piracy.

The UN Security Council has approved four resolutions since June to promote international efforts in fighting the escalating piracy problem off the coast of Somalia, and has authorized countries engaged in anti-piracy operations off the Somali coast to conduct land and air attacks on Somali pirates after obtaining prior permission from the Somali government.

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