NATO Says The Piracy In Gulf Of Aden Is At The Lowest Level Since 2009

Before SNMG-2 returned to the Mediterranean the command of the Operation Ocean Shield, NATO’s counter piracy mission was handed over to the SNMG-1. The handover ceremony was done in Jeddah Saudi Arabia. This is a surprise as I did not know that Saudi Arabia supported the NATO operations, even covertly.

Commodore Ben Bekkering (Royal Netherlands Navy), assumed command of Operation Ocean Shield, NATO‟s counter piracy mission from Rear Admiral Sinan Azmi Tosun (Turkish Navy) in the port of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

As incoming Commander, Commodore Ben Bekkering stressed the need to remain vigilant. “On Admiral Tosun‟s six-month watch, the success rate of pirates has seen a sharp decline. Pirates find it increasingly difficult to deploy from the coast and hunt at sea. But the many incidents over the last few months, including attacks and hijackings, make it absolutely clear that we can’t let our guard down. I see it as my absolute task to ensure the trend continues and engage with all partners in the region to maximize our combined effect.”

Onboard his flagship Rear Admiral Tosun summarized his six months in command, “Ocean Shield has been a highly satisfying and demanding deployment for me. During my tenure, the main success has been the significant reduction in successful piracy actions which are now at their lowest level since 2009. The high level of coordination established between the counter piracy actors has undoubtedly played a considerable part in contributing to the decline in piracy. I believe that powerful and resolute units of NATO‟s Counter Piracy Task Force, under the command of Commodore Bekkering will continue to fight against piracy with the same enthusiasm during the next six-month period”

Commodore Ben Bekkering’s flagship is F-805 HNLMS Evertsen. And as of 15th June 2012, Turkey will handover the command of SNMG-2 to Germany.

I have no statistics about the recent piracy activity in the region but if the piracy actions are now at their lowest level since 2009 as claimed by the admirals then does this means there is a light at the end of the tunnel or this just meager times of the pirates?


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