The EU Naval Force has taken action aimed at disrupting Somali pirates.  On Tuesday it was announced that EU forces carried out an operation which destroyed some of the equipment on the Somalia coastline which was being used by pirates.

Tuesday’s actions were described as “precise and proportionate” by the EU Naval Force.  The operation was carried out by air, and all of the forces involved are said to have returned safely to the EU warship afterwards.

On 23 March 2012, the Council of the European Union announced in a press release that it had extended the mandate of EUNAVFOR Atalanta, a counter-piracy operation, until December 2012.  It was also announced that the forces’ area of operations would be extended to cover the Somalia coastline.  The operations are aimed at destroying the equipment and boats used by the pirates.  The area was also closely monitored before the operation to ensure that no Somalis were injured.

The operation was carried out in accordance with UN Resolution 1851, which was adopted in 2008.  The Resolution allows States and organisations to “undertake all necessary measures appropriate in Somalia”.  The Transitional Federal Government of Somalia supported Tuesday’s actions.

Commenting in a press release, Operation Commander of the EU Naval Force, Rear Admiral Duncan Potts, said:

“We believe this action by the EU Naval Force will further increase the pressure on, and disrupt pirates’ efforts to get out to sea to attack merchant shipping and dhows.  The local Somali people and fishermen – many of whom have suffered so much because of piracy in the region, can be reassured that our focus was on known pirate supplies and will remain so in the future.”

“The EU Naval Force action against pirate supplies on the shoreline is merely an extension of the disruption actions carried out against pirate ships at sea, and Operation Atalanta remains committed to fighting piracy off the Horn of Africa and the humanitarian mission of protecting World Food Programme ships that bring vital aid to the Somali people.”

Operation Atlanta has been set up with the aim of tackling the causes and symptoms of piracy in Somalia.  There have been several pirate attacks already this month,  however, they are not all limited to Somalia.  The pirates do have a vast reach, the EU Naval Force says, and can attack up to 1,750 miles off the Somali coast.


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