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U.S. destroyer chases pirates who fired grenades

NAIROBI, Kenya — A U.S. destroyer hunted down pirates who attacked the Thailand-flagged MV Thor Traveler in the Gulf of Aden with rocket-propelled grenades early Friday and chased them with a helicopter, officials said.

The helicopter from the USS Farragut watched the pirates throw items — possibly weapons — overboard. A boarding team confiscated pirate paraphernalia, and the skiff was instructed to return to the Somali coast, the Combined Maritime Forces said in a statement.

That the pirates were set free underscores one of the problems the international community has not yet solved over the piracy issue: which country should take possession of the suspects and prosecute them.

The Navy has captured at least 21 suspected pirates since March 31, and Friday's encounter was at least the fourth skirmish with pirates that U.S. warships have had in recent weeks.

U.S. destroyer chases pirates who fired grenades 04/16/10 [Last modified: Friday, April 16, 2010 11:34pm]

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