Russian Pacific Fleet holds joint exercise in Seychelles

Pacific Fleet ship Admiral Tributs

Russia and Seychelles conclude joint naval exercises.

Russian sailors have conducted a joint anti-piracy exercise with their counterparts in the Seychelles during the visit of the Pacific Fleet ship Admiral Tributs, which is on counter-piracy duties in the Indian Ocean.

“Our troopers have demonstrated their anti-piracy skills to the Coast Guard colleagues,” said Russian Navy Captain First Rank Ildar Akhmerov, commander of the Pacific Fleet (PF) anti-piracy task force.

The exercise was organised by the Seychelles Coast Guard and Russian marines last week.

It involved the Seychelles Coast Guard ‘pirating’ a passenger vessel and kidnapping its crew. Russian marines then ‘captured’ the vessel using their speedboats and boarding rope ladders and neutralised the ‘pirates’, RIA Novosti reports.

High-ranking officials of Seychelles Coast Guard and Russian diplomats observed the exercise.

The Admiral Tribut’s visit was the second such goodwill expedition to the Seychelles since October 2009. The Udaloy class destroyer departed the archipelago on March 5.

The Admiral Tributs, together with the Pechenega tanker and a rescue tugboat, arrived in the Gulf of Aden on January 12 to escort convoys of commercial ships. The seventh task force replaced a previous flotilla that had been stationed in the area since September 28 last year. This included the Admiral Penteleyev destroyer, a supply vessel and rescue tugboat, as well as a unit of marines.

Russian warships have taken part in anti-piracy patrols since October 2008 and successfully escorted a total of 130 commercial vessels from various countries through the pirate-infested waters off the Somali coast.

The international community runs several seaborne anti-piracy missions off North Africa, with the European Naval Forces Operation Atalanta, NATO-led Operation Ocean Shield and Combined Taskforce 151 led by Americans. Atalanta was originally set up to safeguard the United Nation’s World Food Programme aid deliveries to Somalia but has expanded to take on a general anti-piracy role. Other nations like South Korea, China, Japan, Iran, Saudi Arabia and India also have ships off the East African coast.

With the growing issue of piracy in the Gulf of Aden, Russia like other nations is taking an increased interest in the region for security reasons.  This opportunity has allowed the Russian navy to train and gain real world experience operating in a part of the world that it doesn’t usually patrol in.

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