The number of pirate attacks between January and May this year has reduced considerably when compared to the same period last year.
“Piracy is weakening and this is evident by the statistics. In 2011, the total attacks between January and May was 176, while during the same period this year it is 30.
In 2009 it was 163 and in 2010 it was 174,- said Rear Admiral Jean-Baptiste Dupuis, force commander, EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) operation Atalanta (Task Force 465) at a press briefing at the French Embassy yesterday.
Also in 2012 the number of ships that pirates have captured during the same period has reduced to five while it was 25 last year.
The number of disruptions (an action that renders a pirate group incapable of further pirate operations) by EU Navfor stood at 11 this year.
As part of a comprehensive approach, the EU launched European Naval Force Somalia -” Operation Atalanta (EU Navfor -” Atalanta) in 2008. Since the launch, EU NAVFOR -“ Operation Atalanta continues to successfully perform its mission and contributes to improving maritime security off the coast of Somalia and in the Indian Ocean. The Council of the EU has decided to extend the operation until December 2014.
The French ship FS Marne is the new flagship of the EU Naval Force, Somalia, under the command of Rear Admiral Jean-Baptiste Dupuis. The FS Marne has strength of 215 personnel on board, among them 30 are force headquarters staff, from eight different countries.
France is now in command of Task Force 465, European Naval forces fighting piracy off the coasts of Somalia. In addition to France, EU nations like Germany, Italy, Luxemburg, Portugal, Spain and the Netherlands have deployed ships and aircraft.
Currently, pirates are holding seven vessels and 213 people as hostage.
Talking of challenges, Rear Admiral Dupuis said, “The monsoon period is always a great period as it generally coincides with an increase in the number of attacks.
He also said that “piracy now seems more organised than it was before.
Talking about the achievements of the operation, EU Navfor-Atalanta, Rear Admiral Dupuis said, “We have had 100 per cent success rate providing escorts to WFP vessel delivering food to Somali people. Since the beginning of the operation, more than 925,371 tonnes of food were sent to Somalia under the protection of EU Navfor Atalanta.
He also added that EU Navfor has ensured the protection of other vulnerable shipping lanes within the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC) and the High Risk Area.