With the Atalanta mission extended through next year, a new ship sets sail for the Horn of Africa to guard shipping lanes and bring food supplies.
With the Atalanta mission extended through next year, a new ship sets sail for the Horn of Africa to guard shipping lanes and bring food supplies. From the northern port of Wilhelmshaven on Monday, the German naval frigate Bremen embarks on a journey of nearly 8,000 kilometers. The ship and its 220-strong crew is heading for the Horn of Africa to take part in the European Union's Atalanta mission to tackle piracy in some of the world's most dangerous waters.
On August 11, after arriving at the naval station at Djibouti, the Bremen is to take over the duties of the frigate Rheinland-Pfalz, which has, along with another frigate, the Brandenburg, been representing Germany's navy in the EU-wide mission.
The Bremen is to be primarily assigned to protect ships making runs to Somalia for the United Nations' World Food Program, but it is also to help keep shipping lanes open for other ships as needed.
Over the past two years, pirates along Somalia's 3,100-kilometer coast have hijacked dozens of ships for ransom payments worth millions of dollars.
EU foreign ministers decided last month to extend the mission, which involves 14 ships, by a year, until the end of 2010. There are around 500 German military personnel involved in the mission.
Since the operation began in December, EU-flagged vessels have detained more than 50 suspected pirates, whom they have handed over to the Kenyan authorities in line with a deal reached in March.