International Naval Mission Sets Sail to Stop Piracy | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 22.08.2008
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International Naval Mission Sets Sail to Stop Piracy

A spree of hijackings by pirates off the coast of Somalia has triggered the formation of a multi-coalition naval force. A warship has been deployed in an effort to track the missing vessels.

A warship has been deployed to the area

A naval coalition has been established to track the hijacked vessels

A total of four ships have been hijacked in the waters off Somalia in 48 hours, a record number that has prompted the launch of a naval mission to recover the vessels, reports Reuters.

One Iranian and one Japanese vessel, as well as one German-operated cargo ship were all seized on Thursday, Aug. 22. A Malaysian oil tanker was hijacked the previous day.

Coalition warship deployed

Noel Choong of the International Maritime Bureau said on Friday that the naval force based in the region is monitoring the movement of the vessels, which appeared heading toward Somali territorial water. "A naval coalition warship has been sent to the area," Choong added. Naval forces from the United States, France, Germany, Pakistan, Britain and Canada are operating in the Gulf region.

EU puts priority on stopping piracy

Pirates on a luxury yacht in Somalia

The waters off Somalia are notorious for piracy

The waves of crime at sea have sparked concern worldwide and the European Union is planning a naval deployment to the Horn of Africa. German marines will reportedly take part in the mission, reports AP. According to Thomas Raabe, spokesperson for German Minister of Defense Franz Josef Jung, Germany's involvement is "highly likely." The deployment is slated for December.

According to AP, Germany's role there would involve assisting in emergency situations. Preparations on an EU level are currently underway for the EU-spearheaded deployment and France and Spain are also expected to play a significant role.

The four ships hijacked on Wednesday and Thursday had a total of 96 crew members on board. The waters off Somalia are notorious for piracy, with the IMB reporting 24 attacks on vessels there between April and June this year.

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