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Naval patrols fail to deter pirates

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By Jeffrey Gettleman   Published: December 16, 2008

ON THE ARABIAN SEA: Rear Admiral Giovanni Gumiero is going on a pirate hunt.From the deck of an Italian destroyer cruising the pirate-infested waters off Somalia’s coast, he has all the modern tools at his fingertips – radar, sonar, infrared cameras, helicopters, a cannon that can sink a ship 10 miles, or 16 kilometers, away – to take on a centuries-old problem that harks back to the days of schooners and eye patches. 

"Our presence will deter them," the admiral said confidently.But the wily buccaneers of Somalia’s seas do not seem especially deterred – instead, they seem to be getting only wilier. More than a dozen warships, from Italy, Greece, Turkey, India, Denmark, Saudi Arabia, France, Russia, Britain, Malaysia and the United States, have joined the hunt.  And yet, in just the past two months, the pirates have attacked more than 30 vessels, eluding the naval patrols, going farther out to sea and seeking bigger, more lucrative game, including an American cruise ship and a 1,000-foot, or 305-meter, Saudi oil tanker.

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