updated 6/2/2009 2:05:19 PM ET 2009-06-02T18:05:19

The international anti-pirate task force patrolling the Gulf of Aden intercepted 10 suspected pirates and disarmed them on Tuesday, said a U.S. Navy statement.

The British frigate HMS Portland intercepted two skiffs filled with 10 men armed with assault rifles and rocket propelled grenades and boarded them with Royal Marines.

"Having prevented this group of pirates from reaching their merchant traffic prey, Portland destroyed one of the skiffs and confiscated all their weapons," said the statement.

The suspected pirates were not detained, however, due to the lack of evidence linking them to a specific criminal act on the high seas, the statement added, though it noted the boats contained extra barrels of fuel, grappling hooks and ammunition.

The Gulf of Aden is one of the world's most important shipping lanes, crossed by 20,000 ships a year, and a prime target for Somali pirates.

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