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OSLO, November 24, 2010 (AFP) - A Norwegian bulk cargo ship was able to escape an attack by pirates in the Indian Ocean with the help of a helicopter from a nearby warship, the Agderposten daily reported Wednesday.
Sailing from Australia, the Carmencita was on route to the Red Sea when it was attacked by pirates overnight to Tuesday, the Norwegian shipowner told the paper.
"Two small pirate boats came up along side the ship and opened fire," said Oeystein Beisland, the head of shipowner Uglands Rederi.
"They stayed there for a long time, but never managed to climb onboard," he added.
An unidentified warship about 20 minutes away received the Norwegian vessel's distress call and sent its helicopter to scare off the assailants.
"No one was injured in the attack," Beisland said.
Uglands Rederi could not be reached for direct comment.
Piracy has long been a problem in the Indian Ocean off Somalia, where the lack of a functioning government over most of the last 15 years has allowed its vast coastline to be turned into a perfect refuge for criminal gangs.
More than 500 crew members and at least 31 foreign vessels are currently in the hands of Somali pirates, according to Ecoterra, an NGO monitoring maritime activity in the region.
Last Updated (Sunday, 28 November 2010 18:45)