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Singapore to join international anti-piracy efforts

SINGAPORE will send a ship and two helicopters to join a multinational naval force's anti-piracy campaign in the Gulf of Aden, state-owned television quoted its defense minister as saying today.

Teo Chee Hean told parliament Singapore as a maritime nation was committed to supporting international efforts to keep sea lanes safe and secure, Channel NewsAsia reported on its website.

Teo said the deployment of the landing ship tank and two Super Puma helicopters would take place after "the operational arrangements" were made this year and they would be stationed for three months.

Pirates have been seizing vessels in the Gulf of Aden, which connects Europe to Asia and the Middle East via the Suez Canal, hijacking dozens of ships last year and taking tens of millions of dollars in ransom payments.

Foreign navies, including those of China and European Union countries, deployed in response to the threat and the effort has reduced the number of successful hijackings, although a tanker was seized on January 29.

The Combined Task Force 151, with about eight ships, includes US vessels and others from Britain, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany and Pakistan.


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