WITH several military vessels patrolling the Indian Ocean waters to curb piracy activities, the number of attacks has drastically reduced compared to last year.
Speaking to reporters in Dar es Salaam aboard the EU Naval Force ship ITS San Giusto which has docked at the Dar es Salaam port as part of its mission, the Head of the European Union Delegation to Tanzania, Ambassador Filiberto Ceriani Sebregondi, said a total of 176 pirate attacks took place last year compared to only 34 this year.
He added that the EU is concerned with the impact of piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia on international trade and maritime security and on the economic activities and security of countries in the region.
"As a result as part of a comprehensive approach to Somalia, in December 2008 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," he said.
He said that on the 23rd of March this year, the council of the EU extended the counter-piracy operation until December 2014, saying that at the same time the council also extended operation ATALANTA's area of operation to include Somali coastal territory and internal waters.
He further said that the extension of the areas allowed, for the first time, EU NAVFOR to take disruptive action known as Disruption of Pirate Logistic Dumps (DPLD) against pirate supplies on the Somali coast in order to deny pirates impunity on the shoreline.
On his part, the Force Commander of the EU Naval Force Somalia - Operation Atalanta (EU NAVFOR), Rear Admiral Enrico Credendino, said under UNSC mandate, EU NAVFOR operation ATALANTA conducts the protection of vessels of the World food Programme (WFP) delivering aid to displaced persons in Somalia, and the protection of African Union Mission on Somalia (AMISOM).
He said they also conduct deterrence, prevention and repression of acts of piracy and armed robbery off the Somali coast, the protection of vulnerable shipping in the same area on a case by case basis.