EU Force Maintains Pirate Watch Off Somalia

For the first time in years, piracy has returned to the coast of Somalia, with as many as six incidents reported in the last two months. But the European Union naval force patrolling the region, EU NAVFOR, says it continues to be successful in escorting ships carrying food aid to drought-stricken Somalia.

A spokesperson for the EU force, Lieutenant Commander Jacqueline Sherriff, told VOA’s Somali Service that the force has not experienced a single attack on aid ships since it began protecting World Food Program (WFP) vessels in 2008.

“Our warship will actually sail alongside a ship very closely to stop any pirates approaching but we also have another way of doing it…We can put a military protection team on board the WFP vessel itself,” she said.

With two EU vessels patrolling Somalia’s coastal waters, helicopters overhead and help from partner nations, Sherriff believes the mission scares off most would-be pirates. In fact, she said, during one recent attack, pirates boarded a vessel and then fled when they heard over the radio that an EU warship was en route.

“They know that we’re off the coast, so we’re hoping, we’re trying to deter them from coming out to sea in the first instance,” she said.

Via Voa News, click here for the full story.