UN ruling means warships can pursue pirates

Following a decision by the United Nations, a multi-national force of warships will patrol a ‘maritime security patrol area’ in the waters between Somalia and Yemen, where a number of yachts and dozens of ships have been taken hostage in the past year.

Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 has been patrolling the gulf as part of the war on terror for a number of years, and, following the UN’s decision, will now be allowed to pursue pirates into Somali waters.

Cmdr. Jane Campbell, public affairs officer for the US 5th Fleet, said the patrol area could be described roughly as a rectangular shape over the Gulf of Aden, with a constant allied naval presence. ‘The number (of ships) will vary, but we’ll have ships on station,’ Cmdr Campbell said. ‘This is not a long-term solution; it’s a short-term, focused operation.’ Along with surface patrols, shore-based aircraft and shipborne helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles will also keep a weather eye on the Gulf of Aden.

CTF 150, set up under Operation Enduring Freedom in October 2001, includes naval forces from France, Germany, Pakistan, the US, the Netherlands, the UK and other allied nations. The task force is responsible for maritime security from the Red Sea down the east coast of Africa and into the Arabian Sea toward Pakistan and India.

The cruising website Noonsite will pass on any information on convoys of yachts passing through the area to the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA).

Full Story: Sail-World.