Following the European Council’s decision on 30 July to extent the mandate of EU NAVFOR Somalia Operation Atalanta until 31 December 2020, the European shipowners welcomed the move, noting that the operation has brought a significant decline in piracy numbers in the East African region.
The European Council extended the mandate of EU NAVFOR Somalia Operation Atalanta until 31 December 2020. It also decided to relocate the EU NAVFOR Operational Headquarters from Northwood, UK to Rota, Spain, and to Brest France for the Maritime Security Centre Horn of Africa MSCHOA as of 29 March 2019.
ISWAN and the Taipei Representative Office in the EU and Belgium signed a Memorandum of Understanding, under which Taiwan will donate another USD 30,000 to the Piracy Survivor Family Fund, administered by ISWAN, on behalf of the UN Contact Group for Piracy off the Coast of Somalia.
Charlie Stickland, the Operational Commander Major General of EU NAVFOR, met with Mr. Kitack Lim, Secretary-General of the IMO, on 11 May at IMO Headquarters in London. At the meeting, general Stickland updated the IMO Secretary-General on EU NAVFOR’s counter-piracy Operation Atalanta.
66 attacks against ships in Africa in the first quarter of 2018 highlight a surge in global levels of piracy and armed robbery at sea, according to the International Chamber of Commerce’s International Maritime Bureau. Figures in Q1 2018 are up compared to 43 incidents for the same period in 2017, and 37 in Q1 2016.
Two pirate skiffs, carrying a total of four pirates onboard, approached and fired upon a tanker, while underway in the Gulf of Aden, on 31st of March, according to IMB piracy reporting centre. The armed guards onboard the tanker returned fire, resulting in the pirates aborting the attack and moving away.
Maritime crime poses a serious threat to the safety of seafarers, international trade, and regional stability. In order to deal with this issue, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime created the UNODC Global Maritime Crime Programme, to combat maritime crime.
A merchant vessel was approached by pirates on a mother ship on the evening of Sunday, 21 January, in the Gulf of Aden, 90 nm South East of Mukallah, according to the maritime security company LSS-SAPU. The involved ship is said to be the Panama-flagged cement carrier ‘NACC Valbella’.
On 23 January 2018, the Dutch House of Representatives deals with the Merchant Navy Protection Act. The proposal allows the hiring of private security, in case a Vessel Protection Detachment of the armed forces is not possible, and concerns only the waters near Somalia, which is considered as a High Risk Area.
A total of 180 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships were reported to ICC’s IMB in 2017, which is the lowest annual number of incidents since 1995. In particular, in 2017, 136 vessels were boarded, while there were 22 attempted attacks, 16 vessels fired upon and six vessels hijacked.
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