The EU’s flagship naval operation risks losing permission to pursue pirates in Somalia’s waters due to local politics.
ore specifically, in December Somalia agreed to extend a UN mandate for the EU operation, called Atalanta, for three months.
However, its future intentions were “rather ambivalent” and “to be doubted”, according to an EU foreign-service paper, first reported by the EU Observer.
Namely, the paper notes that Somalia wants Atalanta to focus more on illegal fishing and toxic-waste dumping.
Taking all of the above into consideration, EU noted that if the current UN resolution expires in March, then there would “be no more legal basis for Atalanta to fight armed robbery in Somali territorial waters or on its territory.”
However, the EU could still fight pirates on the “high seas” and could still perform “secondary tasks”.
Despite the steady decline in pirate attacks since 2011, EU officials believe that the three months extension is insufficient to build long-term structures for maintaining stability in the region.
Recently, maritime piracy and armed robbery attacks reached the lowest recorded level since 1994, the annual piracy report of the ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB), reveals.
In fact, in 2021, the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre received 132 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships. Incidents include 115 vessels boarded, 11 attempted attacks, five vessels fired upon and one vessel hijacked.