Pirate Attacks Increase in the Gulf of AdenFebruary 12, 2009 - 22:33
The improved weather conditions in the Gulf of Aden over the last 24 hours have resulted in a marked increase in pirate activity with four attempted hijackings of merchant vessels. Each attack was successfully repelled after intervention by EU NAVFOR and US coalition warships who coordinated their actions during one exchange to secure the safety of the vessel.
In two separate incidents the American warships detained a number of suspects who are being held awaiting prosecution. Initial reports indicate that quick thinking and decisive self protection action by the masters and crews played a significant part in preventing the pirates from boarding and capturing their ships.
Advice and guidance on the best action to take to avoid attack can be found in the restricted area of the www.mschoa.org site where ship owners and operators can enrol free of charge to access this information. Registering their ships’ movements will also enable EU NAVFOR to carry out a risk assessment on each vessel so appropriate protection measures can be deployed in those most vulnerable to attack.
On Sunday the Chinese fishing vessel TIANYU No. 8 was freed after almost three months under pirate control. After the release Chinese warships escorted the trawler and its 24 man multinational crew to safety. This brings the total number of hijacked vessels down to 6.
In other news, the UK Armed Forces Minister Bob Ainsworth visited to the Op Atalanta flagship, the Greek frigate PSARA, to receive an update on the operation. The minister met with the Force Commander, Commodore Papaioannou (GRN), and a number of officers and sailors from the Force Headquarters.
And Italy has announced that it will deploy a frigate to the task force from the beginning of April. The warship and its helicopter will be joining the EU NAVFOR for at least 3 months.
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Operation ATALANTA receives reinforcements of the shipping industry ( AZAMARA CRUISE)
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