Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Nato warships used to tackle piracy

Boats are in place off the Somali coast to tackle rampant piracy in the waters and escort US vessels.

Nato warships are in place off the Somali coast to tackle rampant piracy in the waters, and are ready to escort UN aid vessels under threat, a spokesman for the alliance's naval command said today. "The boats are in the area. They have started their deterrent role," a spokesman at Nato's naval command in Naples, Italy said by telephone, adding that the three vessels "would escort UN ships on request".

The ships - an Italian destroyer and British and Greek frigates which form Nato's operation Allied Provider - "may use force" under their rules of engagement and in line with international law, a statement said. They will help escort UN World Food Programme (WFP) food shipments, whose cargo is a tempting target for pirates, until the European Union can launch its own operation, probably in December.

The WFP ships 30,000-35,000 tonnes of aid into Somalia each month. Yesterday, a maritime watchdog said that Somali pirates were now responsible for nearly a third of all reported attacks on ships, often taking hostages and using high levels of violence. The International Maritime Bureau said 63 of the 199 piracy incidents recorded worldwide in the first nine months of this year occurred in the waters off war-ravaged Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden.

The figure is almost double that of the same period last year. Also yesterday, the French navy arrested nine suspected pirates and handed them over to authorities in the breakaway Somali region of Puntland. French marines in the Gulf of Aden arrested the men when their patrol intercepted two boats on Wednesday in international waters about 185km off the Somali coast. They found small arms and anti-tank weapons and equipment used to board ships on the vessels, said a statement from the French military in Paris.

Nato's top commander, the US General John Craddock, said the operation is proof of the military alliance's ability to rapidly react to crises around the globe. It "signifies Nato's continued relevance and willingness to 'step in' and 'step up' to threats of all descriptions - in this case the persistent threat of piracy," he said in a statement from his headquarters in Mons, Belgium. The pirates operate high-powered speedboats and are heavily armed, sometimes holding ships for weeks until they are released for large ransoms paid by governments or owners.

*AFP

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Iranian President Hassan Rouhani greeted by university students as he leaves Sistan University in Sistan and Baluchestan’s provincial capital of Zahedan on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. Maryam Rahmanian for The National

In Iran’s most troubled province, Rouhani hears pleas for change

Hassan Rounani aims to connect with residents of far-flung Sistan and Baluchestan province.

 Prince Bandar bin Sultan in Riyadh on March 3, 2007. Hassan Ammar / AFP Photo

Saudi Prince Bandar promised a victory he could not deliver

Saudi Arabia's controversial intelligence chief stepped down this week after rumours that his policies on Syria had fallen out of favour.

 Iranian President Hassan Rouhani greets supporters after his arrival in Zahedan, the regional capital of Sistan and Baluchestan province on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. During Mr Rouhani's two-day visit, he will tour several other cities and hold meetings with local scholars and entrepreneurs. Maryam Rahmanian for The National

On the road with Hassan Rouhani

Iran's president is touring some of Iran's most underdeveloped provinces. Foreign correspondent Yeganeh Salehi is traveling with him.

 Twitter photo of  Abdel Fattah El Sisi on the campaign trail on March 30. Photo courtesy-Twitter/@SisiCampaign

El Sisi rides a bicycle, kicks off social media storm

The photos and video created a huge buzz across social media networks, possibly a marker of a new era for Egypt.

 Friday is UN Mine Awareness Day and Omer Hassan, who does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan, is doing all he can to teach people about the dangers posed by landmines. Louise Redvers for The National

A landmine nearly ended Omer’s life but he now works to end the threat of mines in Iraq

Omer Hassan does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan and only has to show people his mangled leg to underscore the danger of mines. With the world marking UN Mine Awareness Day on Friday, his work is as important as ever as Iraq is one of the most mine-affected countries in the world.

 Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkish spiritual leader Fethullah Gulen. AFP Photo

The inner workings of Gulen’s ‘parallel state’

Fethullah Gulen's followers are accused of trying to push Turkey's prime minister from power.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National