Meeting to discuss the current situation off the Horn of Africa, the Operation Commander of the EU Naval Force, Major General Martin Smith MBE, and the Secretary-General of the IMO, Koji Sekimizu, agreed that Somali-based piracy remains a threat to international shipping, saying that there was no room for complacency where pirates are concerned.
Naval forces are still very much required in the West Indian Ocean, and merchant ships should continue to apply IMO guidance and Best Management Practices with diligence.
To that end, Secretary-General Sekimizu welcomed the extension of the EU’s Operation Atalanta counter-piracy mandate to the end of 2016, which was announced in Brussels at the end of last week.
The EU Naval Force’s main tasks are to escort merchant vessels carrying humanitarian aid for the World Food Programme (WFP) and vessels of AMISOM as they transit along the Somali coast, and to deter and disrupt piracy in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean. EU Naval Force units also monitor fishing activity off the coast of Somalia.—World Maritime News