A new task force from Russia’s Pacific Fleet has escorted its first convoy of commercial vessels along the designated safety corridor after its recent arrival to the Gulf of Aden, the fleet’s spokesman said on Sunday.

The task force, which comprises the Udaloy-class destroyer Admiral Tributs, the Pechenega tanker and a rescue tugboat, left the home port of Vladivostok on December 10 and arrived in the Gulf of Aden on January 12 to join the international efforts to fight piracy off Somalia.

“The first international convoy comprised merchant vessels from Malta and Turkey. With the escort of the Admiral Tributs destroyer, they passed the Gulf of Aden and then autonomously sailed to the destination ports in the Middle East and Europe. Now the task force is forming the second international convoy of vessels to sail in the opposite direction,” Capt. 1st Rank Roman Martov said.

Task forces from the Russian Navy, usually led by Udaloy-class destroyers, operate in the area on a rotating basis.

Russian warships have successfully escorted a total of 130 commercial vessels from various countries through pirate-infested waters off the Somali coast since 2008, when Russia joined the international anti-piracy mission in the region.