Why have the world's most advanced navies failed to end piracy in the seas around Somalia?
The BBC's Middle East correspondent Paul Wood reports from the EU anti-piracy taskforce flagship, Evertsen, in the Gulf of Aden.
Cdr Bindts say the pirates adapt quickly to his taskforce's tactics
The Dutch frigate Evertsen is a reassuring sight for the civilian ships dotted around the horizon as she ploughs steadily through the calm, glittering waters of the Gulf of Aden. But all the bristling firepower of the EU's anti-piracy task force has not been enough to remove the threat of piracy from the seas around Somalia. Why has it been so difficult for the world's most advanced navies to defeat pirates who are armed with just Kalashnikovs and rocket- propelled grenades?It is true there has not been a successful hijacking since July in the Gulf of Aden, the corridor between Yemen and Somalia which leads to the Suez Canal. That is of enormous importance, since 20% of the world's shipping travels this way.
But the pirates have not been defeated. They have just moved south into the Indian Ocean, continuing to plague the waters known as the Somali Basin. This is where the British couple, Paul and Rachel Chandler, were seized from their yacht.
The task force and other navies patrol an area the size of Western Europe
The first problem for the European force is one of simple geography.Along with other navies concerned about the piracy problem, it has to patrol an area the size of western Europe. They could be several days away from a vessel when it is boarded by pirates.So there is only a tiny chance of catching the pirates in the act of trying to board a civilian vessel - and even then, the warships are limited in what they can do. Often they cannot use the immense firepower at their disposal."This is not so much an enemy, that would sound like a war - and we're doing legal work with military means," says Cdr Pieter Bindt, commander of the EU's anti-piracy taskforce. "They [the pirates] are very adaptive; they react to what we do and they have a very large area where they can start from: the Somali coast, which is thousands of miles long."'Why not just blow them out of the water?' I asked......To read the rest of the piece..MORE news
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