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Sailors aboard the USS Vella Gulf apprehended seven suspected pirates Wednesday in the Gulf of Aden, according to 5th Fleet, based out of Bahrain.

It’s the first time a ship operating under CTF-151, a multinational task force, has apprehended suspected pirates.

The guided missile cruiser responded to a distress call from a merchant ship that reported seven suspected pirates in a skiff had tried to board their vessel, a 5th Fleet news release said.

The Vella Gulf came across a skiff matching the description given by the merchant vessel, and a boarding team found weapons, the news release said.

The merchant ship’s crew later identified the suspected pirates, who are being held on the Vella Gulf pending transfer to a temporary holding facility on the USNS Lewis and Clark.

The United States has an agreement with Kenya allowing suspected pirates captured off the east coast of Africa to be tried in Kenyan courts.


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