Friday, November 21, 2008

EU To Deploy First-Ever Naval Force Off Somalia

Did they finally join the anti-piracy effort because a Saudi ship was seized?

Radio Netherlands
Next month, the European Union is launching its first-ever naval mission, Operation Atlanta. Its dual aim is to protect United Nations food aid shipments to Somalia and to combat piracy in the region. At the moment, NATO has a small naval force temporarily stationed in waters near Somalia which is the base for most pirates.

Operation Atlanta is something entirely new for the EU because it is taking place far from Europe itself. Its first goal is to escort World Food Programme aid shipments to Somalia. These have been hit by pirates fairly often in the past.

The second aim is to combat the region's piracy in general. The problem of ships being hijacked for ransom has become much worse over the past year. Operation Atlanta is an ambitious project. The area of sea to be policed is enormous, while the resources are limited: just seven ships and a budget of eight million euros for a whole year.

"Low budget" protection.

Crossposted at Jawa Report

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