ECSA welcomes the European Council’s decision of 25 November to extend the mandate of Atalanta, the European Union’s counter-piracy operation along the East African coast.
“The two-year mandate extension comes at the right moment”, said ECSA Secretary General Patrick Verhoeven, “Pirate attacks on merchant ships have been significantly reduced over the years compared to when the operation started in 2008, but a recent armed attack on a chemical tanker shows that piracy is unfortunately still alive along the coast of Somalia,” he added.
The EU, together with other international partners and industry, has done an important and efficient job in preventing the piracy attacks, strengthening security, local governance and the rule of law along the coast of Somalia. The EU NAVFOR operation Atalanta is one of the important contributors to the dramatic decrease in piracy attacks in this region. “However, before a long term solutions on land, such as a stable political situation, job opportunities and social rest are not well established, piracy will remain an attractive business model for criminal networks”, Verhoeven concluded. The Somali pirates used to take control of vessels transiting the high risk area in the region, hold hostages and ask huge ransoms for their release.
The shipping industry will continue to cooperate with the EU NAVFOR commanders to ensure that Somali-based piracy stays suppressed.