Russia frees captured pirates who seized tanker

Russia has released pirates who hijacked an oil tanker in the Gulf of Aden because there are no legal grounds to prosecute them in Moscow, a Defence Ministry official said on Friday.

Russia frees captured pirates who seized tanker

Russia has released pirates who hijacked an oil tanker in the Gulf of Aden because there are no legal grounds to prosecute them in Moscow, a Defence Ministry official said on Friday.

The decision reverses a plan to bring 10 alleged pirates to Russia to face prosecution for the seizure on Wednesday of the Russian-owned MV Moscow University, which was headed to China with a crew of 23 and a crude oil cargo worth $52 million.

The tanker was freed and its captors detained after they surrendered on Thursday following a gunbattle with forces aboard a Russian warship that killed one pirate, according to Russian authorities.

"In the absence of necessary legal agreements, it was impossible to bring these pirates to justice," a senior Russian Defence Ministry official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters by telephone.

"A decision was adopted to set them free aboard one of the small vessels they themselves had used to attack the Moscow University tanker," the official said, adding that the ministry had been unable to establish the pirates' citizenship.

Earlier, Russian investigators said they were Somali and that they would be brought to Moscow for "prosecution".

Thursday's successful helicopter-backed rescue operation launched from the warship Marshal Shaposhnikov was celebrated by the Kremlin, which has been seeking to revive Russia's naval muscle far from its shores despite limited resources.

Reuters

Last Mod: 07 Mayıs 2010, 14:34
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