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Monday, September 29, 2008

Yemen's Anti-Piracy Unit

Reported here:
Yemen has formed a maritime unit to fight piracy in the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea. The Yemen Coast Guard has established an anti-piracy unit to battle an increase in piracy in the Arabian Sea and Red Sea. Officials said the unit would contain 1,600 special forces soldiers who are well trained to fight piracy and 16 high speed patrol boats purchased from Australia. “The aim of the deployment is to enhance the protection of ships and stop Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden and Bab Al Mandab Strait,” a Coast Guard official said.
More here:
Officials said each patrol boat would contain 60 marines trained to combat piracy. They said the vessels would contain artillery, radar and advanced communications.

"We have already trained officers on detecting and monitoring pirates and recognizing vessels in distress," the official said.

Officials said the Yemeni force would work with regional and Western navies, including France, Japan, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and the United States.
The Yemeni Coast Guard has conducted training with the U.S. Coast Guard and other coalition forces. See here.

GULF OF OMAN - Coast Guardsmen aboard U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Wrangell (WPB 1332) (right) pick up members of their crew involved in a training exercise with the Yemen coast guard patrol craft Saber-7 (center). The Wrangell, along with Dutch support ship HNLMS Amsterdam (A-836) (left) and USS Typhoon (PC5), is underway performing maritime security operations in and around the Arabian Sea. Official U.S. Navy Photo by Journalist 3rd Class Bobby Northnagle.

Among the missions of the Yemeni force is rescuing refugees from Africa trying to reach Yemen but who put their fates in the hands of crooked human traffickers. See here:
At least 52 Somalis died after smugglers abandoned them on a boat in the dangerous waters of the Gulf of Aden, the U.N. refugee agency said Sunday. Seventy-one people survived the 18-day ordeal.

The boat broke down within hours of leaving Somalia on Sept. 3, bound for Yemen and carrying more than 100 Somalis, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said in a statement. The crew abandoned the boat for another craft and never returned for the refugees, who threw bodies overboard as fellow passengers died, the UNHCR said.

The boat eventually drifted close enough to southern Yemen that three passengers tried to swim ashore. Two alerted rescuers; the third never made it.

The Yemeni coast guard rescued the survivors Sept. 21, the statement said.
UPDATE: More info here, especially at the last link in Jim Dolbow's post.

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