The U.S. and international military forces are taking more aggressive action off the African coast as bolder and more violent pirates imperil oil shipments and other trade, reports the Navy Times.
The area is a key shipping route for cargo transported to and from the U.S. and elsewhere. In response to pirate attacks, the U.S. has stepped up its patrols to deter them and sometimes intervened to rescue hostages and ships. It also has increased its intelligence-sharing in the area, said Navy Lt. Nate Christensen, a spokesman for the 5th Fleet in Bahrain, which patrols Middle Eastern and African waters.
The U.S. is “very concerned about the increasing number of acts of piracy and armed robbery” off the Somali coast, he said. Somalia’s weak government has admitted it can’t control its territorial waters, and Nigeria is fending off a rebel group.
A U.N. Security Council resolution, pushed by the U.S. and passed June 2, allows the U.S. and its coalition allies to intervene by “all necessary means” for the next six months to stop piracy off the Somali coast. Coalition ships have since scared off pirates in at least two attacks, said the London-based International Maritime Bureau.