- The Washington Times - Friday, April 10, 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Navy is moving a huge amphibious ship closer to the scene of the pirate hostage standoff off Somalia.

Defense officials say the USS Boxer will be nearby soon. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss sensitive ship movements.

The Boxer is the flag ship for a multination anti-piracy task force. The Boxer resembles a small aircraft carrier. It has a crew of more than 1,000, a mobile hospital, missile launchers and about two dozen helicopters and attack planes.

Two other Navy ships are expected to remain much closer to the pirate-held lifeboat. The USS Bainbridge is in sight of the lifeboat; the USS Halyburton is nearby. The Bainbridge uses drones to keep watch on the lifeboat. The Halyburton has helicopters.

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