The EU is closed between Christmas and New Year, but the Frankfurter Allgemeine (FAZ) newspaper reports that the EU Political and Security Committee on Dec. 20 tasked the commander of Operation Atalanta to rework the operational plan for the counter-piracy mission so that Somali pirates can be combated ashore.
This would involve changing the rules of engagement so that pirate vessels and installations can be attacked on shore and vessel protection teams can operate more autonomously from EU warships that up until now have had to be nearby. The European External Action Service has reportedly been tasked to reach agreement with the Somali authorities to support these changes, which they already do, according to the FAZ.
Photo: Djibouti PIO
Participation of German forces in more aggressive operations would require a change in their mandate, which was renewed this month. This participation currently consists of three frigates with four Sea Lynx helicopters on board and three P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft. One of the frigates will be relieved next spring by the supply ship Berlin, from which a Sea King can operate, offering greater range than the Sea Lynx.
Supply ship Berlin (© 2010 Bundeswehr/Ricarda Schönbrodt)
The FAZ reports that the British and French wish to conduct amphibious operations against pirates is opposed by the German Free Democrats, the junior partner in the German government, who fear that pirates could threaten reprisals against captured crews and civilian casualties.
On Dec. 21, the Italian tanker Savina Caylyn with a crew of 18 became the latest ship to be captured by Somali pirates.