Piracy is still an issue along shipping routes to and from the Horn of Africa


(Posted 17th February 2014)

While the Somali ocean terrorists have suffered major setbacks over the past year as a result of more determined surveillance and harsh responses by the anti piracy coalition policing the waters of the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, they are not quite yet fully defeated.

Territorial advances by UNISOM has clearly robbed the terrorists, pirates often in league with Al Shabab militants, of bases from where to launch their attacks or hide after returning from sea. Still it was only a narrow escape last week on Thursday when MV Andrea, coming from the Kenyan port of Mombasa and sailing to the port of Mogadishu, came twice under attack by some of the remnants of the ocean terrorists. Security personnel on board reportedly twice repelled the attackers when opening fire on them, yet more evidence that harsh responses do work and that the use of armed security on board of ships traversing the Red Sea and this part of the Indian Ocean has proven its merit once again.

Kenya’s port of Mombasa, as do other Indian Ocean ports like Zanzibar, Dar es Salaam or the island ports of Victoria / Seychelles, Port Louis / Mauritius and St. Denis / Reunion to name but a few, are working hard to restore cruise ship traffic to increase tourist visitor numbers, and this latest incident will in particular bring attention back to the need of counter measures both on board ships as well as through the international naval coalition and to remain vigilant and alert to the dangers which still exist when sailing along Africa’s Eastern shores and around the Horn of Africa. Mombasa had two port calls of cruise ships this year already and is hoping for more, underscoring the need for the Kenyan naval forces to provide cover to cruise ships and cargo vessels as soon as they enter the country’s extended maritime economic zone. Watch this space.

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