German commando undersea divers, known as frogmen, will be deployed to aid in EU efforts to quell rampant piracy in waters off the Horn of Africa.
The submarine specialists, who are equipped for long periods underwater, have already been posted to the taskforce supply ship, the Berlin, according to the German Defense Ministry.
The team is to operate within the framework of the European Union mission off the coast of Somalia.
The elite Bundeswehr soldiers could be used for boarding hijacked vessels. The frogmen would be stealthily transported to the vicinity of hijacked ships via helicopter and would then approach the vessels unnoticed underwater using submarine scooters. They could also be used to disable the engines on ships seized by pirates.
Somalia's 3,000-mile (4,800-kilometer) coastline has become a haven for pirates. It is considered to be the most dangerous stretch of the Indian Ocean.
European naval vessels have been patrolling the waters since 2008 as part of the EU's Atalanta mission to safeguard integral shipping lanes that run through the region.
dfm/acb (AFP, dpa)