No Smooth Sailing
Surge in piracy off Somalia draws international naval response
By DAISY R. KHALIFA, Special Correspondent
Partners Against Piracy
entered Somalia’s territorial waters.
Among them are Britain, Canada,
France, Germany, Pakistan and the
India, Russia, Malaysia and,
most recently, China also have
independently sent naval assets to
the region. China sent two destroyers and a supply ship.
The security scenario in Somali
waters will continue to evolve in
the coming months via U.S. and
international involvement that
aims to step up legal and jurisdictional action, while complementing
Most recently, Combined Task
Force 151 (CTF-151) was established by the U.S.-led Combined
Maritime Force, headquartered in Manama, Bahrain.
Its mandate is to conduct “counterpiracy operations in
and around the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Indian
Ocean and the Red Sea, and was established to create a
lawful maritime order and develop security in the maritime environment,” the U.S. Navy said in a Jan. 8
statement announcing the task force.
“The most effective measures we’ve seen to defeat
piracy are non-kinetic and defensive in nature. The
merchant ships have been doing a great job stepping
up and utilizing these methods to defeat piracy
attempts. That’s a great first step,” Vice Adm. William
E. Gortney, Combined Maritime Force commander,
said in the statement.
“But the problem of piracy is, and continues to be, a
problem that begins ashore and is an international
problem that requires an international solution. We
believe the establishment of CTF-151 is a significant
step in the right direction,” he said.
Gortney also commands U.S. Naval Forces Central
Command and U.S. Fifth Fleet.
Several nations have teamed up to combat piracy off the coast
of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden.
■ The European Union’s (EU’s) Operation Atalanta brings together naval assets and support from France, Germany, Greece, the
Netherlands and Spain, along with contributions from Portugal,
Sweden and non-EU member Norway.
■ A coalition of warships from a number of nations, including
Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Pakistan and the United
States, operate in Somalia’s territorial waters.
■ The newly formed Combined Task Force 151 will conduct
counterpiracy operations in and around the Gulf of Aden, Arabian
Sea, Indian Ocean and Red Sea.
Pirate activity off the coast of Somalia has
prompted several nations to increase their presence in the region and take a proactive stance
to thwart attacks on merchant and recreational vessels.
The European Union (EU) in December launched a
counteroffensive specifically targeting Somali pirates.
Code named Operation Atalanta, the naval task force
draws upon ships, sailors and logistical support from
France, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands and Spain,
along with contributions from Portugal, Sweden and
non-EU member Norway.
Headquartered in London, Operation Atalanta has
enlisted seven warships backed by reconnaissance aircraft. One of those ships, France’s anti-submarine
frigate Jean de Vienne, in January captured 19 Somali
pirates after coming to the rescue of two threatened
cargo ships in the Gulf of Aden.
U.N. Security Council Resolution 1846, adopted in
early December, authorized “all necessary means” to
suppress piracy in the region, and since then a growing
number of warships from a host of nations have