LONDON, Feb 18 (Bernama) — Japan and the European Union are strengthening anti-piracy cooperation in the Gulf of Aden off Somalia to reduce the number of pirate attacks on commercial vessels.
Their joint operation had helped an international mission to reduce piracy incidents from 174 in 2011 to just two last year, Japan’s Jiji Press news agency reported.
The first operation took place in January 2014 when EU naval forces and Japan’s Maritime Self-Defence Force (MSDF) troops teamed up to capture a pirate ship.
MSDF destroyer Samidare initially received information about a commercial ship coming under attack in the Gulf of Aden.
It then sent a P-3C patrol aircraft to monitor the situation while an EU naval vessel from France was dispatched to the site to arrest five pirates.
The trial of the five men began in January at a court in the Republic of Seychelles in eastern Africa, where they were indicted under an agreement between the EU and Seychelles.
Japan and the EU have conducted three anti-piracy exercises together in the Gulf of Aden since October.
EU and the MSDF have respectively extended their anti-piracy mission to the end of 2016 and up to July this year.
The Gulf of Aden is a strategic waterway through which approximately 5,000 vessels pass every month carrying Middle Eastern oil and other goods.