Germany has joined the international anti-pirate flotilla off Somalia. The German Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung says the EU’s anti-piracy mission has a robust mandate. He said the mission would use force if needed to liberate hijacked vessels.Currently based in Djibouti, the Karlsruhe will join the EU’s Atalanta operation to protect shipping lanes off the Horn of Africa. The level of piracy off Somalia has become a major problem for international shipping, forcing vessels to take alternative routes and hiking up insurance premiums. Pirates have attacked more than 100 vessels this year, capturing dozens including a giant Saudi supertanker. In addition to the EU and US led operations, China has also joined the anti-piracy fight. Beijing has announced three of its ships – two destroyers and a supply vessel – will set sail on the 26th December. It is the first time since the Ming Dynasty some 600 years ago that Chinese warships have sailed to Africa.