NATO Ends Anti-Piracy Mission off Horn of Africa while EU extends Somalia anti-piracy mission for two years



NATO has ended its Indian Ocean counter-piracy mission (High Risk Area) after a sharp fall in attacks, the alliance said on Wednesday, as it shifts resources to deterring Russia in the Black Sea and people smugglers in the Mediterranean.

HMS Montrose, who is part of NATO’s counter piracy mission, Operation Ocean Shield off the Horn of Africa, prevented a gang of suspected pirates from prowling in to the Indian Ocean to attack merchant ships. A pirate gang consisting of ten men was seen acting suspiciously near to a known pirate camp off the coast of Somalia. Their boat, loaded with ladders and fuel drums was towing two other smaller vessels that have been traditionally used for pirate attacks against ships HMS Montrose launched her Lynx helicopter and a boat of Royal Marines and Sailors to investigate. Once the suspected pirates spotted the helicopter and boarding team, four of the suspected pirates took one of the smaller boats and tried to head for the shore. The six remaining men stopped in the water and when the Lynx helicopter hovered overhead they attempted to discard the pirate ladders overboard. After the navy boarding team confiscated all the pirate gear, thus ensuring that the gang could no longer pose a threat to merchantmen, they were transferred to the remaining skiff. Speaking about the incident, Commander Jonathen Lett said “Today’s disruption of a pirate gang in the Somali Basin by a NATO warship was very rewarding. Our actions prevented suspected pirates from heading out to sea to prey on innocent merchantmen. HMS Montrose continues to help keep the seas safe”. The NATO Task Force patrols the Gulf of Aden and Somali Basin as part of the international effort to counter the scourge of piracy. Despite the vastness of the ocean, counter piracy forces, such as NATO, the Combined Maritime Forces, the EU Naval Force and other independent maritime forces continue to successfully disrupt pirate activity and help safeguard merchant traffic.
HMS Montrose, who is part of NATO’s counter piracy mission, Operation Ocean Shield off the Horn of Africa, prevented a gang of suspected pirates from prowling in to the Indian Ocean to attack merchant ships.
All ships and patrol aircraft have now left the area off the Horn of Africa, where they patrolled since 2009, as part of a broader international effort to crack down on Somali-based pirates who had caused havoc with world shipping.

NATO says its "Ocean Shield" operation, as well as European Union and other counter-piracy missions, have significantly reduced attacks, with no ships captured off Somalia since May 2012, down from more than 30 ships at the peak in 2010-11.

After more than a decade of NATO-led operations far beyond its borders, the U.S.-led military alliance is shifting to defend its territory to deter Russia in the east, following Moscow's 2014 annexation of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula.

"The global security environment has changed dramatically in the last few years and NATO navies have adapted with it," NATO spokesman Dylan White said in a statement. "NATO has increased maritime patrols in the Baltic and Black Seas. We are also working to help counter human smuggling in the Mediterranean."

Earlier this month, NATO broadened its operations in the Mediterranean to help the European Union stop criminals trafficking refugees from North Africa.


European Union:

Operation 'Atalanta', the European Unions's counter-piracy mission off the coast of East Africa, has been renewed for another two years.

The European Union has extended its anti-piracy mission off Somalia for a further two years. The EU Council agreed on 25 November to extend Atalanta's mandate until 31 December 2018. It also set aside just over EUR11 million (USD11.6 million) via the 'Athena mechanism' to finance the mission's common costs.

Concentrating primarily on the Somali coast, the mission was launched in December 2008 to detect and deter piracy in the region.


Source: Reuters



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