NATO’s counter-piracy commander said the threat from Somali pirates is receding, but also warned that the international community must maintain vigilance to wipe out the problem.
“We are getting more successful in reducing the Somali piracy threats without constant patrolling, but the international community must continue to exchange ideas and increase efforts to completely eradicate the problem,” said Cdre Ben Bekkering at a news conference on a Dutch warship off Muscat, Oman.
He also said Oman’s navy was co-operating in the searches for pirates, but the effort was still like searching for “a needle in a haystack”.
Pirate gangs stay out at sea for long periods using captured merchant vessels as mother ships and have been using Yemen’s remote island of Socotra as a refuelling hub, according to Reuters.
There were 69 hijacking incidents by Somali pirates from January 1 to July 12 this year, down 32% from the same period in 2011.