Archive for the ‘anti-piracy’ Category

Japan’s Navy Warships Deploy to Somalia to Fight Piracy

March 14, 2009

Two Japanese navy destroyers left a port in southern Japan on Saturday to join an international anti-piracy mission off the coast of Somalia.

Prime Minister Taro Aso was on hand to see the ships off.

“It is well known that piracy is growing in the Gulf of Aden,” Aso said. “We hope you will fulfill your mission and return safely.”

Japan has had restrictions on the use of what other nations call “military forces” since the end of World War II.  To even send warships as far away from Japan on a mission that could including fighting required special government steps for Japan.

Japan’s Cabinet had to approve  a new anti-piracy bill to allow the mission.

Japan’s ships can only be deployed to protect Japanese vessels and their crews, during normal mission and Japan’s navy has been called the “Maritime Self Defense Force” for decades.

About 2,000 Japanese ships pass near Somalia each year.

A special Japanese law designed to relax restrictions on the use of arms by personnel on navy ships if engaged by pirates will allow Japan’s vessels to escort foreign ships in danger.

The anti-piracy effort has now drawn ships from Japan and China far away from home for the first time in decades to conduct actions that could involve actual engagement with another armed force.

China’s ships in the anti-piracy mission are the first Chinese warships sent outside China’s territorial waters in centuries.

Ironically, one of the two Japanese warships on the anti-piracy mission, Sazanami, visited China last June — the first visit to China by a Japanese waship since the 1940s.


Japan's 4,650-tonne destroyer Sazanami arrives ...

Warships from several countries including Britain, the United States, France, China and Germany are participating in the anti-paracy mission that the Japanese warships will join when they get to the waters off Somalia.


Associated Press


Pirate Patrol Off Somalia To Be Headed By U.S. Navy

January 8, 2009

The U.S. Navy says one of its commanders will lead a new international force to battle pirates off the coast of Somalia.

More than 20 nations are expected to take part in the mission once it is fully under way later this month. The announcement Thursday by U.S. Navy officials in Bahrain did not list the countries participating, but said the force will be headed by U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Terence McKnight.

Merchant fleets have been calling for a stronger military response to pirates after a sharp escalation in attacks last year. At least 111 ships were attacked and more than 40 of them commandeered.

It is not clear whether the new anti-pirate force will have any expanded powers to battle pirates.

–Associated Press

The French warship Nivose escorts a convoy of commercial ships ... 
The French warship Nivose escorts a convoy of commercial ships in the Gulf of Aden.(AFP/Eric Cabanis)

Iran Warship Joins Anti-Pirate Patrol

December 20, 2008

Iranian state radio says Iran has sent a warship to the coast of Somalia to protect its cargo ships against piracy.

The Saturday report says the ship has arrived in Somali waters.

The Iranian ship joins vessels from the U.S., Denmark, Italy, Russia and other countries in patrolling the Gulf of Aden.

Members of the public look as one of the six British Naval warships ...
Members of the public look as one of the six British Naval warships is escorted by a pilot boat as it sails out of the port of Mombasa , Friday, Dec. 19, 2008. The ship is among the six warships which are being used by the European Union to escort World Food Programme (WFP) ships ferrying relief food from the port of Mombasa to Somalia against pirates who have been hijacking ships along the Somali waters. The naval warships and three helicopters will also be used by the European Union to patrol along the Somali and Kenyan waters against pirates.(AP Photo)

The gulf leads to the Suez Canal and is the quickest route from Asia to Europe and the Americas.

China also has said it is sending warships to the region.

Pirates have made an estimated $30 million hijacking ships for ransom this year, seizing more than 40 vessels off Somalia’s 1,880-mile coastline.

In November, a cargo ship operated by Iran was hijacked off the coast of Somalia, the second since July.

China Anti-Pirate Mission Another Step in International Engagement

December 19, 2008

China’s decision to send warships to battle pirates off Somalia — taking on a job that involves cooperating with other nations and possible combat — is a cautious step toward more engagement by Beijing.

Though China has a huge global commercial maritime presence, the People’s Liberation Army Navy has primarily focused on defending China’s coast and, until now, limited operations abroad to port calls, goodwill visits and exercises with other navies.

“They’re on an actual mission, which could potentially involve combat, albeit of low intensity. That’s a real difference,” said Lyle Goldstein, director of the China Maritime Studies Institute at the U.S. Naval War College. “This is not a dangerous mission — actually, it’s the perfect coming out party for the Chinese navy.”

By ANITA CHANG, Associated Press Writer

China has never sent military forces overseas other than as part of a U.N.-mandated peacekeeping mission, according to Bonnie Glaser, a China specialist at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. A Foreign Ministry announcement Thursday that China was making preparations to deploy warships followed a unanimous U.N. Security Council vote this week authorizing nations to conduct land and air attacks against pirates.

The Council acted as piracy has taken an increasingly costly toll on international shipping, especially in the Gulf of Aden, one of the world’s busiest sea lanes. Spurred by widespread poverty in their homeland, the pirates have made an estimated $30 million hijacking ships for ransom this year, seizing more than 40 vessels off Somalia’s 1,880-mile (3,000-kilometer) coastline.

U.S. admiral wants China military ties resumed

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U.S. admiral wants China military ties resumed

December 18, 2008

The United States hopes China, which suspended military contacts with Washington in October, will soon resume them to work together against piracy in the Gulf of Aden, U.S. defense officials said on Thursday.

China took the action to protest a $6.5 billion U.S. arms sale to Taiwan.

“It is a fact that the Chinese suspended ‘mil-to-mil’ dialogue with the Department of Defense in general and U.S. Pacific Command,” said Navy Adm. Timothy Keating, who commands all U.S. forces in Asia and the Pacific.

Timothy Keating
Admiral Keating

A defense official said the suspension occurred after the United States announced the arms package including 30 Apache attack helicopters and 330 Patriot missiles.

The sale angered Beijing, which has vowed in the past to bring Taiwan under its rule, by force if necessary. The United States switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979 but Washington remains Taiwan’s strongest ally and biggest arms supplier.

By David Morgan, Reuters

At the time, the Pentagon said China canceled or postponed several military-to-military exchanges, including senior officer visits and a humanitarian relief program.

Keating told reporters prospects of China sending warships to the seas off Somalia to help international efforts against piracy could provide a “springboard” for resuming ties.

“We are in dialogue in various agencies and commands in an attempt to provide information to the People’s Liberation Army navy should their country decide to deploy ships,” he said.

“This augurs well for increased cooperation and collaboration between the Chinese military forces and U.S. Pacific Command forces,” Keating said. “So I’m cautiously optimistic.”

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China Says Navy Force to Fight Somali Pirates

December 18, 2008

China is all set to send a naval fleet on a mission to fight pirates in Somali waters, a military source told China Daily on Tuesday
“There will be a significant peacekeeping operation (in Somalia),” the source said, but did not reveal the scale of the mission.

Dutch cargo ships in the Gulf of Aden on Tuesday

Seven Chinese ships or crews have been attacked off Somalia this year

From: China Daily

China will tell a United Nations Security Council meeting this morning (Beijing time) that “we wish to work with others to reach a positive outcome”, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said yesterday, without confirming the status of the mission.

“The Chinese government supports the international community’s decision to cooperate on the piracy problem according to international law and the UN Security Council’s resolutions,” Liu Jianchao told a news briefing on Tuesday, referring to Vice-Foreign Minister He Yafei’s meeting in New York.

Naval Shps from Around The Globe Watch For Pirates. Where is China?

China Conducts Massive Anti-Piracy Drill; May Send Ships Near Somalia
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From the BBC

State media suggested the force could consist of two destroyers and a supply ship, although officials did not confirm the details of the deployment.

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In this Nov. 11, 2008 file photo made available by Indian Navy, ... 
In this Nov. 11, 2008 file photo made available by Indian Navy, Indian warship INS Tabar, right, escorts the MV Jag Arnav ship to safety after rescuing it from a hijack attempt by Somali pirates. (AP Photo/Indian Navy, HO, File)

As international forces rescued a hijacked Chinese ship from Somali pirates Wednesday, state news media reports said China planned to send a naval fleet to fight pirates in the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters.

An unnamed military source told the state-run English-language China Daily that the operation would be “a significant peacekeeping mission,” but a National Defense University professor of military strategy told The Washington Post it would be the first time China has taken part in a “battle task.” 

By Maureen Fan
Washington Post Foreign Service
Thursday, December 18, 2008; Page A20
In this photograph released by the Indian Navy, Indian Marine ...
In this photograph released by the Indian Navy, Indian Marine Commandos board a suspected pirate ship as its surrendering crew (L) hold their hands above their heads in the Gulf of Aden on December 13, 2008. The UN Security Council on Tuesday unanimously adopted a new US resolution authorizing for one year international operations against pirates inside Somalia.[Agencies] 

“It is also a very good opportunity to rehearse sea rescue tasks and telecommunication with other military forces,” said the professor, who is also a senior figure in the navy and asked to be identified only by his surname, Zhang. “Although we’ve attended U.N. peacekeeping tasks before, we were not involved in military actions. This is the first time China is taking part in a battle task.”

Piracy off Somalia has increased shipping insurance costs, forced ships onto roundabout routes and sparked international alarm. Nearly 400 people and 19 ships are being held for ransom along the Somali coast, according to the Kenya-based East African Seafarers Assistance Program, prompting international anti-piracy operations and a U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing states to “undertake all necessary measures” to stop the pirates.

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Pirates: Russia Renews Commitment to Anti-Piracy Patrol

December 9, 2008

Russia’s navy says a warship on anti-piracy patrol off Somalia will be replaced soon.

Russia sent the missile frigate Neustrashimy, or Intrepid, after pirates seized a Ukrainian ship carrying tanks in September. The ship from Russia’s Northern Fleet has been escorting freighters and the navy says it has helped thwart at least two pirate attacks.

Above: Neustrashimy

Navy spokesman Capt. Igor Dygalo said Tuesday that the Intrepid will remain in the region through the end of December and be replaced by a ship from Russia’s Pacific Fleet. The navy previously said it would replace the Neustrashimy with another ship and continue the Russian presence off Somalia.

Naval Shps from Around The Globe Watch For Pirates. Where is China?