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Note: Coast Guard should adopt rules governing private contractors who defend ships from pirates » Navy provides assistance to recently pirated vessel off Somali Coast.

CENTRAL COMMAND AREA OF OPERATIONS (Dec. 2, 2007) Merchant vessel Al Marjan was released from pirates off the Somali coast Dec. 2. Al Marjan had been under the control of Somalia-based pirates since Oct. 17. The U.S. Navy dock landing ship USS Whidbey Island (LSD 41) was on hand to assist the vessel and its crew following its release. The U.S. Navy has maintained a ship presence off the coast of Somalia since late October, where there have been six pirated vessels off the Somali coast in the last 30 days. The U.S.-led multinational maritime task force responsible for planning counter-piracy operations off the Horn of Africa includes Italy, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. Coalition forces conduct Maritime Security Operations under international maritime conventions to ensure security and safety in international waters so that all commercial shipping can operate freely while transiting the region. U.S. Navy photo by Lt. j.g. Deanna Fisher (Released)

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