Updated: Monday September 28, 2009
Sky News reporter Ashish Joshi, in the Gulf of Aden.
Anti-piracy commanders insist their patrols in the Gulf Of Aden are working despite fresh attacks in the region.Seven pirates were arrested off the coast of Somalia on Saturday after the alarm was raised by two separate Panama-flagged merchant vessels that feared they were being targeted.Turkish navy commandoes on board the TCG Gediz were then involved in a raid on a small pirate vessel.
The frigate is one of about 25 ships on counter-piracy patrols in the area.It is part of a Nato force that complements ships from the European Union and independent navies.The international anti-piracy efforts are co-ordinated by the Combined Maritime Force (CMF) based in Bahrain, which has its own specialist task force called CTF 151.Speaking on board the CTF's flagship battleship, the USS Anzio, Admiral Scott E Sanders said efforts off the Somali coast were yielding results.'Due to the effective co-ordination between the many navies operating in the Gulf Of Aden pirates are having to resort to multiple attacks,' he said.'They will target one ship after another because their attempts are being thwarted by our swift response tactics.''The fact that the international maritime community has tightened up its procedures is evident in the recent failed attempts.'Somali pirate attacks in the Gulf of Aden peaked between the end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009.The internationally recommended transit corridor (IRTC) was created in February 2009.The 464-mile stretch of water runs right through the middle of the Gulf Of Aden.It is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, with some 33,000 merchant ships passing through the channel every year.By having a recognised corridor it is much easier to co-ordinate international efforts against pirate attacks.Anti-piracy commanders say the drop in the number of hijackings is evidence their strategy is working.Royal Navy Captain Keith Blount, the chief of staff on board the USS Anzio believed the patrols were working.'Conditions have been perfect for pirate attacks in recent weeks yet no ships have been successfully taken despite a number of attempts,' he said.That's down to the standing patrols from CTF 151 and those of the other navies in the area together with the co-operation of the merchant marine community.'Four ships and their crews were still being held hostage by Somali pirates and negotiations to secure their release were ongoing.H\T http://www.skynews.com.au/world/article.aspx?id=377016