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German Navy Thwarts Pirate Attack on Cruise Ship

DW staff (th)December 5, 2008

The German Navy warded off a suspected piracy attack on a German cruise ship in the Gulf of Aden, a spokesman for the mission commando has confirmed . Germany has troops in the area to combat piracy.

Ship in the water
Patrolling the waters near Somalia is no easy taskImage: AP

The Navy's Mecklenburg-Vorpommern frigate chased off two suspicious speed boats with warning shots last week, the Transocean Tours in Bremen, which was operating the cruise ship, confirmed on Thursday, Dec. 5. Transocean said the 492 guests and crew on board the MS Astor had not noticed the incident. The boat also had not asked for help.

The suspicious boats disappeared quickly into Yemen's territorial waters, the report said.

Transocean said the speed boats had approached about 3 sea miles distant, and the frigate intercepted them before they got to the cruise ship. The cruise ship was bound for Dubai, where it arrived on Tuesday.

Some 63 incidents of piracy have been recorded in waters off the Somali Coast and the Gulf of Aden in the first nine months of this year, according to the International Maritime Bureau.

Germany is considering contributing up to 1,400 military personnel to a European Union security mission to combat piracy off the coast of Somalia, according to a report in the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine this week.

UN mandate to end

The newspaper said 500 naval personnel would crew a frigate patrolling the Horn of Africa and the remainder would be commandos providing security on German-owned merchant vessels in the region, the report said.

The current United Nations mandate for anti-piracy operations in the region expires on December 2.

The UN Security Council is close to passing a new resolution that authorizes a European Union fleet to fight piracy, according to German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier this week.