By Chrispinus Omar
NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The resurgent piracy
attacks off the vast Somali coastline is a result of the growing
insecurity in the Horn of Africa region, which calls for renewed
security partnership to defeat, a commander of an international
naval task force against piracy told Xinhua.
Jacqui Sheriff, Spokesperson for the European Naval Force (EU NAVFOR)
operating off the Somali coastline to deter piracy along the Indian
Ocean coastline and in the Gulf of Aden, said pirates have felt the
need to return to sea in the middle of heightened insecurity in
"The EU NAVFOR warships and maritime patrol aircraft are
continuing to work with maritime partners to deter armed pirate
attacks," Sherriff said in a recent interview.
The EU NAVFOR and China’s PLA Navy have formed the bedrock of
international naval collaboration to defeat rampant acts of piracy
along the Indian Ocean coastline and the Gulf of Aden.
The Chinese navy was instrumental in the rescue of an Indian
vessel, Al Kausar, which was hijacked on April 3 as it headed to the
Port of Bossasso.
This was the second such incident in weeks after several months
of calm in a region where up to 237 attacks were reported during the
peak piracy period in 2011.
"Given the insecurity in the Horn of Africa region, pirates have
perhaps felt that there could be opportunities at sea to attack and
take ship for ransom," Sherriff said.
An unknown number of pirates attacked the Indian freight vessel
before it was rescued by a team of elite Chinese naval officers who
also rescued the 19 crew members.
Sherriff said the Chinese PLA Navy warships in the area have made
a contribution to efforts to deter piracy in the Horn of Africa
region for some time now.
The EU NAVFOR warships in the region have been contributing to
the efforts to stamp out piracy in the region. However, the area of
operation is considered too vast to completely patrol, naval experts
She said the EU NAVFOR continued to cooperate with partners to
deter piracy in the region, which is critical to international
Beijing deployed its navy to join the international effort
against piracy in 2008 after a series of piracy attacks, which
included three Chinese vessels.
The Chinese navy has been providing escort services to Chinese
ship, escorts to relief and other humanitarian supplies including
the World Food Program (WFP) consignments and ship owned by Chinese
companies as they transit through the Gulf of Aden.
The Chinese naval deployment to the region followed a UN Security
In 2016, the Chinese authorities confirmed the PLA dispatched 21
task groups, involving 62 ships and 42 helicopters to protect 6,056
vessels, including 8 vessels carrying WFP food shipments to the
region, according to a PLA navy briefing paper.
At least 1,500 Chinese ship transit through the Gulf of Aden.
The EU naval force, whose mandate has been extended to 2018 by
the EU last December, has vowed to continue working with its
partners, including the PLA navy, to keep seafarers and vessels
Sherriff attributed the relative calm from piracy attacks in the
last few months to the vigilance practiced by owners of shipping
lines and the successes of the naval operation.
Efforts to ensure a sustainable end to the piracy attacks have
also been bolstered by the training of Somali coast guards.
However, Sherriff said while the Somali forces were working to
improve their maritime capabilities, there was need to further
provide additional training and logistical support.
"The Somali authorities appreciate the support given by the EU
and other missions that operate in the region to provide maritime
security and training to local forces," she said.
Best Management Practices help Protect against Somalia pirates