x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

No let-up in war with pirates, says the EU

The European Union Naval Force says vigilance is necessary to keep pirates at bay.

While the number of Somali pirate attacks decreased this year, the European Union Naval Force says vigilance is needed to maintain their retreat.

"We hope the shipping industry does not diminish protection to its ships, although we know it costs money, and we hope member states continue to provide naval and air assets," Rear Admiral Gualtierro Mattesi, the EUNavfor's deputy commander, told the maritime security conference.

Experts say the combined efforts of navy patrols and armed private-security guards on merchant vessels have helped to reduce piracy attacks from 176 last year to 35 in the first 10 months of this year.

Meanwhile, in London yesterday, UAE representatives met 13 other nations at a Piracy Ransoms Task Force meeting to discuss partnerships and coordination among nations in hostage situations. Among those participating were the UK, US, Australia, France, Germany and Italy.

RTalwar@thenational.ae