SOS welcomes recommendation that combined naval operations be extended beyond 2014

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The SOS SaveOurSeafarers campaign has welcomed the UK House of Lords Select Committee for External Affairs Report which contains a series of recommendations on how to curb piracy off the coast of Somalia. These include the continued use of naval warships to tackle piracy under EUNAVFOR’s ongoing anti-piracy operation Operation Atalanta.

Commenting on today’s recommendations, Alastair Evitt, Chair of the international anti-Somali piracy campaign, SOS SaveOurSeafarers, said: “The successes achieved by Operation Atalanta to date should not be seen as a reason to downscale the operation – quite the reverse; and it is for this reason that we wholeheartedly welcome the Committee’s acknowledgement of the significant impact Operation Atalanta has had in reducing the number of pirate attacks, and its recognition that under current political conditions in Somalia, any reduction in effort will quickly result in a renewed upsurge of pirate activity. We fully support the recommendation that combined operations should be extended beyond 2014.

“The international community must continue to send out a clear message of its ongoing commitment to combating piracy off the Somali coast, in the Gulf of Aden and in the Indian Ocean. EUNAVFOR is a European force and SOS therefore hopes that this message will be conveyed to the UK’s European partners. “We also welcome the Report’s recognition of the importance of international naval co-operation in tackling this issue. The Report acknowledges one of our campaign’s key objectives -­ the need to improve the prosecution of pirates, and to look at long-term land-based solutions to eradicating the root causes of this problem. A strong naval presence and effective steps to prosecute suspected pirates are vital in ensuring a long-lasting solution to tackle this threat.”