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EU naval force marks 10 years of fighting piracy in Somalia

Storyline:National News, Security

The economic cost of piracy off the Somali coast has declined by close to six billion in the last ten years, the EU Naval Force has said as it marks a decade since it deployed its naval resources to protect vital shipping lanes and the delivery of aid to Somalia.

When EU NAVFOR Atalanta deployed in 2008 at the height of piracy in Somalia, the economic cost of piracy stood at $7 billion but has since then steadily decline to $1.4 billion by 2017 thanks to the EU naval team and collaboration with other international forces.

EU Vice President Federica Mogherini said in a statement Sunday in marking a decade of deployment that the EU NAVFOR Atalanta was a success story on resources put together.

“Peace and security are at the heart of the partnership between the EU and Africa. With Operation EU NAVFOR Atalanta our women and men in uniform have for the past ten years successfully been fighting piracy, to the benefit of our two continents alike,” said Mogherini. “We will keep working with the same commitment to avoid that piracy comes back in the area. EU NAVFOR Atalanta is a success story of our EU defence put to action.”

The EU External Services said in a statement through the contribution of 21 member states and six partners, piracy has steadily declined in the Indian Ocean coast. “From a high of 176 attacks in 2011, incidents have gone down to a total of just four failed attacks in 2018.”

The decline, the statement noted had enabled EU countries and citizen to freely move goods and materials to and from Europe in addition to reducing the costs to the EU producers and prices for the European consumer.

It added that the EU NAVFOR has registered a 100% record in ensuring the delivery of 1.8 million tonnes of World Food Programme (WFP) aid to Somali ports, through the application of Best Management Practices including the deployment of armed security teams known as Autonomous Vessel Protection Detachments (AVPDs), to WFP vessels.

Despite the decline of piracy, the EU said, other maritime security threats such as arms smuggling, narcotics, people and wildlife ‘very much remain in place.’