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'Maintain pressure on Somali pirates'

03 September 2012, 15:45

Brussels - The shipping industry must keep up its guard despite a recent downturn in pirate attacks, especially off the Somali coast, a naval task force statement said on Monday.

Military and industry efforts have seen a 54% reduction in global piracy in the first half of 2012, according to a global anti-piracy programme involving Nato's Operation Ocean Shield, the European Union Naval Force Somalia (Operation Atalanta) and Combined Task Force 151.

"We currently see a tactical and reversible success," Atalanta Deputy Operation Commander Rear Admiral Gualtiero Mattesi cautioned.

"It is of utmost importance that pressure on Somali pirates... is maintained and even increased as... the situation in Somalia allowing for pirates to act, has not yet changed," Mattesi said in a statement.

The statement said combining forces makes anti-piracy efforts more effective but "even with all this military presence, the efforts of our naval forces cannot guarantee safety in the region".

Accordingly, CTF 151, Nato and the EU reminded "all ship-owners, operators and managers to continue to educate and train their mariners in both the threat and how to mitigate it".

After a spike at the start of the last decade, successful pirate attacks on commercial vessels sailing off the Horn of Africa have diminished.

Twenty-eight attacks were recorded in the first half of 2011, three in the second half and five since January, according to recent Atalanta figures.



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