The European Union has launched anti-piracy patrols in the Horn of Africa.
Six warships and three surveillance aircraft from several EU countries, including Britain, France and Greece, will provide escort aid and merchant ships.
Atalanta, is the first naval operation in the bloc’s history. It will replace the existing Nato mission and last at least a year.
The area to be patrolled, includes one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, the Gulf of Aden, which has seen almost 100 pirate attacks this year.
Britain’s Rear Admiral Philip Jones will head the operation.
“The pirates are very agile, they learn quickly, they’re adapting to our new tactics all the time, so we have to be very agile too and deploy our forces accordingly,” he says.
EU foreign ministers will authorise the use of military force and say there’ll be “robust” rules of engagement.
However, the fate of any captured pirates remains unclear.