European Union forces attack pirate targets on Somali shore
An armed pirate keeps watch along the coastline at Hobyo town, northeastern Somalia, in 2010.
May 15th, 2012
07:01 AM ET

European Union forces attack pirate targets on Somali shore

European Union naval forces on Tuesday struck Somali pirate targets on the coast of the country in the first raids by the European force on the Somali mainland.

“We believe this action by the EU Naval Force will further increase the pressure on, and disrupt pirates’ efforts to get out to sea to attack merchant shipping and dhows," Rear Adm. Duncan Potts, operational commander of the force, said in a statement.

Several pirate attack skiffs, the small boats pirates use to attack merchant vessels in the open ocean, were destroyed in the raid, said Timo Lange, media officer at the naval force's headquarters in England.

No Somalis were injured in the raid, which was conducted entirely by air, the force's statement said.

"The local Somali people and fishermen – many of whom have suffered so much because of piracy in the region, can be reassured that our focus was on known pirate supplies and will remain so in the future," Potts said in the statement.

On March 23, the Council of the European Union said the naval force would be permitted to attack pirate installations on shore.

The force currently has nine warships and five maritime patrol aircraft operating off Somalia under Operation ATALANTA, which began in December 2008.

In April, the International Maritime Bureau reported that pirate attacks off Somalia had decreased dramatically during the first quarter of the year as compared to a year earlier.

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Filed under: Pirates • Somalia
soundoff (225 Responses)
  1. Jim Weix

    The land attacks were long over due.

    May 15, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
  2. PirateBurster

    How come no pirate was killed? This EU force is a joke.

    May 15, 2012 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • TheGreenMan

      It would be "waysist" to do so

      May 15, 2012 at 11:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • meeker

      to the person that said the eu force is a joke even if they would have killed a pirate how much crap would have they gotten for it... exactly why they didnt kill anyone pakistan got mad at the us for killing known terrorists and we get crap all the time for killing as civilian here and there well if people were smart theyd stay away from them so they dont get killed becuz we are watching them all

      May 16, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jim

    Way to go EU!

    May 15, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
  4. James Walton

    Hang on. Since when did the EU have a Navy? Where is the legal framework for such a force? I'm absolutely certain that I never voted for such a thing. If the PR departments of the various navies involved are referring to themselves as an EU force, are we being softened up for the formal creation of joint European forces?

    May 16, 2012 at 4:17 am | Report abuse |
    • skeiron

      The EU (just like NATO or the UN) has no own navy, army or air force, but its members have militaries and they can work together coordinated by the EU to conduct peacekeeping or anti-piracy missions.

      The EU is also active in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where it took over the responsibility from NATO and has/had a couple of missions in Africa.
      EUNAVFOR Atalanta is the first naval mission and exists since 2008.

      The legal framework is the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP).

      May 16, 2012 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
  5. justathought

    You can be sure these pirates are not going to take this sitting down. I really believe that the damage done was insignificant so far as the pirates are concerned; they can acquire more skiffs and even larger vessels if needed. Defense is going to have to come from ships that under attack and/or other defenses, i.e. escorts of some kind that will literally blow them out of the water. I would like to see some air defense with guided missiles.

    May 16, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  6. ReddGator

    Where the hell is the U.S. Navy? Is our current government so inept and mired in politics that it cannot issue the same orders? Good for the EU. Bad for the U.S.

    May 16, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • alan

      How many wars would you have us fight Gator? I am certain that the governments in the east can handle Somali pirates considering our forces have been embattled in 2 major conflicts for over a decade. We should only respond if U.S. citizens or property is attacked. Allow the other governments to take some responsibility for thier own safety.

      May 24, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. JDavis

    They blew up some skiffs? They should be embarrassed, not bragging about it.

    May 16, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mojo

    EU forces should blow up all those big big houses there which were built by the ransom money by the pirate ring leaders.

    May 18, 2012 at 8:19 am | Report abuse |
  9. Jukelo

    Why was there no pirates killed? Probably because europeans aren't so bent on killing people? There's a difference between killing someone that's actively trying to kill you and then killing someone in cold blood just because he tries to make a living out of ransoming ships. What will happen if we always kill pirates? Well, there will still always be pirates, since it's the only source of money in the country. Except now they will kill the crews, loot the ships and try to sell them.

    May 24, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
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