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New Anti-Piracy Coalition Makes First Arrest in Gulf of Aden

The U.S. Navy says it has detained seven suspected pirates in the Gulf of Aden.

The detentions are the first made by a multi-national force patrolling the waters off Somalia.

The Navy's Bahrain-based 5th Fleet says the suspected pirates were detained Wednesday after a merchant ship sent a distress call.

The Navy says the crew of the Marshall Islands-flagged ship Polaris reported that gunmen had tried to board the vessel from a skiff.

The Navy says a team from the USS Vella Gulf, a guided missile cruiser, intercepted a skiff matching the description given by the merchant vessel and detained the seven men on board.

It says the suspects will be transferred to a temporary holding facility on a military supply ship.

Last month, the Navy announced the formation of the multinational task force designed to combat piracy in the region.

The International Maritime Bureau says there was a dramatic increase in piracy last year, with pirates attacking more than 130 merchant ships in the Gulf of Aden.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.