x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Pirates are on the run, French admiral says

Pirate attacks are decreasing and the business model that sustains piracy is coming to an end, a French naval officer said.

Piracy attacks are decreasing and the business model that sustains piracy is coming to an end, according to Vice admiral Marin Gillier, the commander of the French joint forces in the Middle East. Courtesy Universite Paris Sorbonne Abu Dhabi
Piracy attacks are decreasing and the business model that sustains piracy is coming to an end, according to Vice admiral Marin Gillier, the commander of the French joint forces in the Middle East. Courtesy Universite Paris Sorbonne Abu Dhabi

ABU DHABI// Pirate attacks are decreasing and the business model that sustains piracy is coming to an end, a French naval officer said at the Paris Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi last night.

Vice admiral Marin Gillier, the commander of the French joint forces in the Middle East, said there were five successful pirate attacks off the south Omani coast this year, but overall the tactics of the international navies and communities have had an impact.

"Now, there are 140 crew members being held hostage. These numbers have been decreasing," Adm Gillier said in a talk on piracy in the Indian Ocean.

"This is why we are at the end of a business model. It is no longer viable for them. Investors changed their tactics.

"The risks are too high [for the pirates] and there is a problem of recruitment. There's also logistical pressure on land which can disrupt piracy."

But Adm Gillier also said third-party armed groups in foreign waters were making it difficult for national navies to protect the seas.

"There is also the problem of floating galleries to transport arms and ammunition in order to have private protection teams but the [maritime] laws should be respected," he said.

Of the estimated 12 armoury ships operating globally, at least four are known to operate off the coast of Fujairah.

eharnan@thenational.ae