Navy effort is ‘having an effect’ on piracy

Secretary of State for Defence Gavin Williamson. Pictute: LPhot Ioan Roberts

Defence secretary refuses Treasury demands for military cuts

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EFFORTS to combat piracy off the coast of Somalia have reduced the number of successful attacks on merchant ships – though the battle is far from over, a senior Royal Navy officer warned.

Naval forces are trying to halt the rise in piracy in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden.

‘We are not fighting a losing battle. There has not been a successful piracy attack on merchant vessels since the end of April,’ Commodore Tim Fraser told journalists aboard the amphibious assault ship HMS Albion.

He added: ‘There has been no successful piracy event in the Gulf of Aden since September last year, although I would not wish to give an indication that this is sorted out, because it is not. The piracy is still there, there is too much of it.

‘But that number has been reduced so the military effort is having some effect.’

Docked in Abu Dhabi’s Mina Zayed port, Albion and the frigate HMS Sutherland and other ships will take part in anti-piracy exercises with the United Arab Emirates’ navy in the coming days.