Moscow, Nov 3 (IANS /RIA Novosti) A task force from Russia's Pacific Fleet has departed on an new anti-piracy mission off the Somali coast, according to Captain Roman Martov, the fleet's spokesperson.
The task force will make an official visit to the port of Mumbai in India and conduct joint drills with the Indian navy on the way to the Gulf of Aden.
Led by the Udaloy class destroyer Marshal Shaposhnikov, the task force also includes the Irkut tanker and the Alatau rescue tug boat.
The Marshal Shaposhnikov destroyer has two Ka-27 naval helicopters and a unit of naval infantry on board, the spokesperson said Friday.
During its first anti-piracy mission in the Gulf of Aden in 2010, Marshal Shaposhnikov freed a Russian tanker hijacked by Somali pirates.
Task forces from the Russian Navy, usually led by Udaloy class destroyers, operate in the area on a rotating basis.
Russian warships have successfully escorted hundreds of commercial vessels from various countries through pirate-infested waters off the Somali coast since 2008, when Russia joined the international anti-piracy mission in the region.
Moscow has recently asked France to allow the deployment of two Ilyushin Il-38 naval reconnaissance planes at a French base in Djibouti, located in the Horn of Africa, to facilitate its anti-piracy missions in the Gulf of Aden.