From December, the European Union will deploy ships and aircraft off the coast of Somalia
to guard sea lanes against piracy. The region, which connects Europe to Asia and the Middle East, is one of the busiest shipping areas in the world. And so far this year, at least 70 vessels in the East African waters have been attacked and 30 have been boarded by pirates.
They have threatened humanitarian aid shipments and have taken millions of euros in ransoms. The EU force is expected to involve four to six ships at a time and several surveillance aircraft. Officials say it will operate initially for a year.
Ten EU nations have said they will contribute to the operation, which will have its headquarters in England. But some experts doubt the patrols will finally stamp out the piracy off Somalia. They say the sea raiders can simply wait out the authorities and live off their illegal gains until the patrols end.