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Friday, November 25, 2011

Somali Pirates: Counter-Pirate Forces Short of EU Ships - Budget Issues

Too expensive to use for the designed purpose
Reported here:
The European Union(EU)’s anti-piracy mission off the coast of Somalia is plagued by a shortage of warships due to budget cuts, the bloc’s top military officer said on Tuesday.

"I can imagine that there are many different reasons for this, but one is of course economy and also the budget cuts," said General Hakan Syren, chairman of the EU Military Committee.

EU’s Atalanta operation requires a minimum of four to six ships, but the number would fall "below the red line" in December, the general said after a meeting of military chiefs from the bloc’s 27 member countries.

"We are all aware of that. We are near the end of Novermber now. I think it is no repairable in this short time. But in March, we will above the red line again," he said.

"When it comes to this kind of assets, I can imagine that member states have felt a bit insecure about the situation in the Mediterranean Sea connected to the Arab Spring and the Libyan crisis, but primarily it is a question of resources," he said.

EU nations contributed about 10 warships to the Atalanta operation when it was launched in 2008 to fight against pirates off the coast of Somalia.

However, there are only six or seven EU warships that are taking part in the operation, which has been extended until the end of next year.
Given all the stirring resolutions about fighting the pirate menace, I guess it just a matter of priorities and "All hat, no cattle," as the Texas saying goes.

I suspect private security companies will fill in part of the security gaps caused by this issue.

Photo of the ship? Old U.S. Navy battleship.

4 comments:

  1. MandB3:28 PM

    Let me put a little realism here on a story that is getting rather overblown.

    Op Atalanta (EUNAVFOR) currently has 5 ships assigned and has averaged around 6 for most of the year. Currently it has the Bayern, Galicia, Zuiderkruis, Koeln and Floreal.

    Op Ocean Shield (Standing Nato Maritime Group 1) also has 5 ships with these numbers varying little over the period. Currently they have the Andrea Doria, Carney, De Wert, Fort Victoria and Absalon.

    CTF151 is a variable feast with a high turnover rate of warships and no published force size - they also appear to operate around 5 vessels but this has gone down to 2 in the past. (Anyone have some numbers and names?)

    The 'Internationals' do a particularly good job in providing IRTC convoy escorts. Currently assigned are warships from China, Russia, South Korea and Japan. There a a number of other Asian navies that chop in and out to keep this grouping at around 4 or 5 ships.

    In total there are currently 19/20 ships assigned. EUNAVFOR may drop down by 2 or 3 ships in the December to March period. This is not the end of the world. With common sense now prevailing with the provision of armed guards by an increasing number of Flag states the hijack rate 'should' not rocket. Some judicious lobbying, particularly to the likes of India could fill this shortfall in the New Year.

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  2. (I think the battleship is either Washington or North Carolina rather than an Iowa Class.)

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  3. Chuck : USS North Carolina in heavy weather.

    MandB: Points noted. It will be interesting to watch the trend line to see if this report amounts to more than much ado . . . .

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  4. Anonymous8:31 PM

    Awesome photo of a ship in heavy weather!
    Can't say enough about the painting of the merchant ship in port. Without the brave seamen of the merchant marine WWII or any war is lost.

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