Somali pirates expand operations till west coast of India


Somali pirates now have expanded their operations to the west coast of India, a senior US official has said, adding, the issue of piracy has become a regular part of America’s diplomatic engagements with countries around the world. On any given day up to 30 vessels from as many as 22 nations are engaged in counter-piracy operations in the region.

“International naval forces have thwarted pirate attacks in progress, engaged pirate skiffs, and successfully taken back hijacked ships during opposed boardings,” said the Assistant Secretary of State for Bureau of Political—Military Affairs, Andrew Shapiro, in his remarks on “Turning the Tide on Somali Piracy” last week at the Atlantic Council of the United States.

“We have worked together to create safer shipping lanes through the Gulf of Aden for commercial shipping vessels by establishing the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor.

“The transit corridor is heavily patrolled by naval forces and has helped reduce the number of attacks within the Gulf of Aden,” he said, but quickly added that pirates have adapted to these efforts.

“The expanded use of mother-ships has enabled pirates to expand their area of operations all the way to the west coast of India. This makes it difficult for naval or law enforcement ships to reach the scene of a pirate attack quickly enough,” he said.

“There is just too much water to patrol. High seas naval patrols are an essential component of an effective counter— piracy strategy. But military power, while necessary, is not sufficient on its own. Given the demands on US forces, we also needed to look to other tools to combat piracy,” Shapiro said.

Shapiro said the US government is working to empower the maritime industry so that they can better protect themselves from attack.


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