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Wednesday, 17 February 2010

EU mission alone cannot solve piracy problem

The EU's naval mission off the coasts of Somalia has had a deterrent effect on pirates, but alone will not be enough to solve the problem, its commander said on  2nd February. One year after it kicked off in the Gulf of Aden, the EU's first naval mission comprising seven ships and three aircraft was successful in protecting United Nation food supply ships from pirate attacks, rear admiral Peter Hudson told journalists in Brussels. Our priority task is to protect World Food Programme vessels, which is time consuming, as they are small and slow, but very important for the stability of the population in Somalia," Mr Hudson said. But he also conceded that the pirates have simply moved from the narrow Gulf of Aden to the much larger Somali basin, stretching all the way to the Indian Ocean. If the number of seized ships and pirate attacks has dropped in the Gulf of Aden in the last four months, it has increased in the broader Somali basin, an ocean which Mr Hudson said is 10 times the size of Germany. Nine commercial ships remain hijacked by pirates, while the overall ransom paid out in 2009 for seized vessels lies somewhere between $60-80 million (€42-57 million).

Source: EU observer