EUNAVFOR to continue Horn of Africa piracy patrols

The European Union’s naval mission will extend the EU Naval Force (EUNAVFOR) Somalia Operation Atalanta for two more years, it said yesterday.

EUNAVFOR said that the mandate extension “comes amidst concerns within European Union Member States that, “whilst pirate attacks on merchant ships transiting the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean are currently suppressed, pirates still have the intent and capability to go out to sea and mount an attack.”

The most recent pirate incident in the region was in October, when chemical tanker CPO Korea was attacked by six armed men 330nm off the east coast of Somalia.

EUNAVFOR Somalia was launched in December 2008 following a surge in piracy attacks in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean. At the height of the piracy in January 2011 more than 700 hostages and 32 vessels were being held hostage in the region, but now there are no vessels or hostages being held by Somali pirates.

EUNAVFOR said that over the next 12 months commanders would be working with regional partners and with the shipping industry to look at what measures will need to be put in place beyond December 2018 to ensure that Somali-based piracy remains suppressed.