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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Somali Pirates: Convoys Work

An indication that ships proceeding in "convoy" (in the form of transiting an area protected by naval vessels) are less likely to be victimized by Somali pirates here (subscription):
JUST one vessel registered with the European Union’s anti-piracy operation was successfully hijacked in the first three months of the operation, according to the latest Brussels’ figures.
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“Since 12 December 2008, 41 attacks have been confirmed in the area of operations, resulting in seven actual hijackings. Only one of the seven hijacked vessels was following EU Navfor recommendations,” said the EU Council of Ministers, referring to the period to March 1.

The EU Atalanta operation, the bloc’s first maritime venture, escorted 11 World Food Programme vessels over the period, carrying 60,000 tonnes of food each week to the strife-ridden nation.

Rather than being escorted, commercial vessels are organised into convoys which are then watched over by EU navy vessels stationed at strategic points. Ship operators register vessels over a website and are given convoy start times and locations.

“The EU mission is not alone in the region,” the Council of Ministers pointed out. “Efficient coordination both with the shipping industry and with other naval units deployed by maritime powers (Russia, China and India) or groups (US-led coalition TF 151 + NATO) is therefore essential.
The EU Horn of Africa website is here.

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