European Union Naval Force Somalia - Operation Atalanta, NATO and Combined Task Force 151 (CTF 151) - the big three - call upon the shipping industry to continue to take anti-piracy measures despite the current downward trend in piracy events.
In a recent report published by the International Maritime Bureau it was announced that there was a 54% drop in global piracy during the first half of 2012. One of the key contributors to this welcome development was the fall in both Somali hijackings and attacks. There are many factors which have led to this, two of which were the work of military forces in the region and self-protection measures taken by commercial shipping
"We currently see a tactical and reversible success. It is of utmost importance that pressure on Somali pirates and their business model is maintained and even increased as the strategic context, the situation in Somalia allowing for pirates to act, has not yet changed" said Deputy Operation Commander Rear Admiral Gualtiero Mattesi, "International Navies and all merchant vessels transiting the High Risk Area, need to remain vigilant and uphold their respective responsibilities to support the fight against piracy."
By joining forces, counter piracy efforts are more effective and can achieve more than any one ship, navy, organisation or country working alone. Even with all this military presence, the efforts of our naval forces cannot guarantee safety in the region. It is for this reason that CTF 151, NATO and the EU remind all ship-owners, operators and managers to continue to educate and train their mariners in both the threat and how to mitigate it.
The booklet Best Management Practices version 4 (BMP4) provides useful updates for masters in implementing protection measures to deter piracy. It is based on lessons learned from ships' masters and can be downloaded from the NATO Shipping Centre and EU NAVOR/Maritime Security Centre - Horn of Africa websites (www.shipping.nato.int, www.mschoa.org) where you can find information about the latest pirate eattacks and where they occurred.
Working together the military and the maritime industry is having a positive effect in frustrating the efforts of pirates. Despite the recent encouraging news now is not the time to lessen the efforts of all stakeholders in this area.
NOTES TO EDITORS
The European Union is concerned with the continuing impact of piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia on international maritime security and on the economic activities and security of countries in the region.
As a result, and as part of a comprehensive approach to Somalia, the EU launched the European Union Naval Force Somalia - Operation ATALANTA (EU NAVFOR - ATALANTA) within the framework of the European Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) and in accordance with relevant UN Security Council Resolutions (UNSCR) and International Law.
After the launch of EU NAVFOR - Operation ATALANTA in December 2008, the operation continues to successfully perform its mission and contributes to improving maritime security off the coast of Somalia and in the Indian Ocean. In March 2012 the Council of the EU extended the EU counter-piracy operation until December 2014.
By UNSC mandate, EU NAVFOR - Operation ATALANTA conducts:
- the protection of vessels of the World Food Programme (WFP) delivering food aid to displaced persons in Somalia; the protection of African Union Mission on Somalia (AMISOM) shipping;
- the deterrence, prevention and repression of acts of piracy and armed robbery off the Somali coast;
- the protection of vulnerable shipping off the Somali coast on a case by case basis;
- in addition, EU NAVFOR - ATALANTA shall also contribute to the monitoring of fishing activities off the coast of Somalia.