EU antipiracy force to 'seize initiative'

2012-04-04 08:57

Nairobi - The European Union's anti-piracy military force will become more proactive in the fight against pirates, the departing force commander said on Tuesday, in an effort to seize the initiative in an evolving battle that is moving closer to land.

The EU Naval Force announced last month that it will expand its mission to include Somalia's coast and waterways inside the country for the first time. Rear Adm. Jorge Manso, whose tenure as force commander ends Saturday, said the EU force's mission is evolving.

"To date our approach has been primarily defensive, but from now on we have to become more flexible in our priorities and practices and seize the initiative from pirates," Manso told The Associated Press by telephone from the Spanish military ship Patino. "Doing that we will improve our capabilities against this problem."

Manso said the EU Naval Force is looking for "different missions," though he did not elaborate about any missions that could take place on Somali land or on its waterways.

"It's a way to be more proactive," he said. "The European Union right now is on the right path. This measure is one more tool to create the security that Somalia needs."

Manso said that in coming days the EU would change the naval force's rules of engagement to encompass the recently expanded rules. "We want to do more, different things," he said.

Pirate attacks rise and fall with the cycle of East Africa's monsoons. The monsoon season is coming to an end now and pirate activity will likely restart.

France takes over the rotating command of the EU Naval Force this Saturday and is bringing powerful new equipment to aid the anti-piracy fight.

The French amphibious assault ship the FS Dixmude - France's newest warship - is capable of acting as a seaborne mobile operating base for up to 16 helicopters. The frigate FS Georges Leygues is also now in the region. It carries two Lynx helicopters.

Constant pressure

And last month a French Navy maritime surveillance aircraft began patrolling pirate-infested waters. The plane will help guide naval ships to suspect vessels.

"The new force commander, the French admiral, he will have a lot of opportunities to do a lot of things with the numbers of ships and aircrafts that he will have under his command," Manso said, referring to French Rear Adm. Jean-Baptiste Dupois.

Manso said attacks at sea during his four-month rotation dropped compared to the same period the previous year. On a year-over-year basis, he said, hijackings were reduced to five from 28. Pirate attacks dropped from 58 to 18, he said.

The International Maritime Bureau said Somali pirates accounted for 54% of all pirate attacks in 2011, with 237 attacks, up from 219 in 2010.

"We are applying constant pressure along the Somali coast in order to avoid the pirates reaching the high seas," Manso said. "Another important point is that some regional authorities are applying pressure on land against pirate camps. There are also some disputes among different clans in order to arrange the ransoms."

Regional authorities was a reference to the northern Somali regions of Puntland and Somaliland.

Somalia's pirates are under pressure and looking for other ways to make money, Manso said. Typically they adapt their tactics when under pressure, but this time may be boxed in, he said. The EU is helping provide security and development in Somalia and in the coming months will launch a new civil mission to increase Somali capabilities, he said.

- AP

Read more on:    eu  |  somalia  |  pirates

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


'Zuma's legacy will be judged by Nkandla'

The legacy of President Jacob Zuma is contingent on how he deals with the issue of upgrades to his Nkandla homestead, says Cape Town Archbishop Thabo Makgoba.


Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now! - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy Note 16GB

GALAXY Note combines the market's largest HD Super AMOLED display,...

From R3899.00

I'm shopping for:


You may be good at organising events but they do take their toll on your energy levels. You may need some time out today just more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.