EU force arrests pirates, but Somalia wants navy to join fight
Friday, February 22, 2013
The European Union Antipiracy Mission along the Somali coast on Wednesday announced that it had apprehended nine suspected Somali pirates north east of the coast of Somalia.
According to a statement from the European Union Naval Force (EUNAVFOR), the nine were apprehended approximately 200 nautical miles north east of Eyl, off the coast of Somalia.
The statement added that the nine were being held on board a Dutch frigate that is deployed with the EUNAVFOR Operation Atalanta for further investigation and evidence collection in order to fully assess the possibility of prosecution. The antipiracy forces also managed to seize two attack skiffs from the pirates.
The country’s Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon however appealed to the sea brigands to denounce piracy and join his administration in rebuilding Somalia.
Authorities in Somalia say that they are struggling to combat threats emanating from the sea. The Somali navy recently marked its 52nd anniversary with the country’s defense minister emphasizing on the need to rebuild the Somali navy. The defense minister argued that the answer to piracy in Somalia is only through rebuilding the country’s navy.
The lack of a functioning central government since 1991, allowed piracy to flourish. The country’s inability to fight piracy and counter foreign fleets from conducting illegal fishing and waste dumping along the Somali coastal waters are just an example on how the country’s maritime force was affected by the civil war.
The EUNAVFORCE has spent millions of dollars in the last couple of years in its anti-piracy program in Somalia. Somali’s defence minister Abdihakim Mohamud Fiqi says that the new Somali administration is committed to rebuilding the country’s maritime fleet.
In recent years, Somali pirates have made millions of dollars by capturing cargo vessels in shipping lanes around the Horn of Africa and holding the ships and crew for ransom. Most recently, three hostages, two Sri Lankan and a Syrian national were freed from Somali pirates after years of captivity.
According to a maritime watchdog, piracy in Somalia has fallen to a three-year low as a result of coordinated action by international navies along the Gulf of Aden. But the government here in Somalia wants the rebuilding of its navy adding that a strong Somali navy is simply the answer to piracy along the Gulf of Aden.