Nato’s anti-piracy mission extended


Brussels - Nato has decided to extend its Indian Ocean counter-piracy mission by two years to the end of 2016, judging that piracy remains a threat despite a sharp fall in attacks, the alliance said on Wednesday.

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A Somali pirate is seen on a beach in the town of Hobyo. File picture: Roberto Schmidt

The decision was taken by Nato defence ministers meeting in Brussels.

Nato ships have patrolled the waters off the Horn of Africa since 2009, as part of a broader international effort to crack down on Somali-based pirates who had caused havoc with world shipping.

Nato's “Ocean Shield” operation as well as European Union and other counter-piracy missions have significantly reduced attacks.

In 2011, pirates captured 24 ships and Nato recorded 129 pirate attacks off Somalia. Not a single ship has been captured off Somalia since May 2012, Nato said in a statement.

However, the military alliance said it believed pirates continued to have the intent and capacity to attack ships.

Ships from Spain, Italy and Turkey are currently part of the Nato counter-piracy fleet. - Reuters

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