NATO will dispatch seven warships next week to fight pirates off the coast of Somalia that threaten the shipping lanes for a tenth of the world"s trade.
NATO will dispatch seven warships next week to fight pirates off the coast of Somalia that threaten the shipping lanes for a tenth of the world"s trade. The naval group will head to the Gulf of Aden on March 16, interrupt the mission in April for two months of scheduled port visits, and return for two more weeks of patrols in late June.
?They are going to be there to protect the ships that are transiting through that region against pirate attacks,? North Atlantic Treaty Organization spokesman James Appathurai told reporters in Brussels today.
Armed gangs operating from conflict-plagued Somalia attacked 165 ships and hijacked 43 last year in the Gulf of Aden. The increase from 58 attacks and 12 seizures in 2007 prompted an overlapping international coalition -- including the U.S., NATO, the United Nations and European Union -- to send frigates and escort ships to protect the sea lanes.
NATO"s first anti-piracy mission, involving three ships, lasted seven weeks until the alliance handed off to a six-ship fleet under the EU flag in December. The new mission, approved by allied defense ministers last month, will consist of two ships from Germany and one each from the U.S., Netherlands, Spain, Canada and Portugal.