A new campaign to crackdown on piracy in the Horn of Africa is being launched today by the European Union. Six warships and three surveillance aircraft are being dispatched to the region to take part in Atalanta, the EU’s first joint naval operation, which is being led by Britain. It follows rising attacks by Somali pirates in the zone through which passes a third of the world’s crude oil supplies and 12 percent of maritime cargo.
At the same time, the world’s third largest shipowner, based in the southern French port of Marseille, is strengthening its crews and carriers destined to pass through the region. The Gulf of Aden, one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, has seen almost 100 pirate attacks this year. EU officials are due to meet later to decide on the operation’s rules of engagement and it remains unclear what will happen to captured pirates. The EU force takes over a NATO operation and is due to last a year.