International community appreciates considerable role of Russian Navy in counter-piracy campaign, said US state secretary’s deputy assistant Tomas Kelly saying that “we very much value Russian participation in the coalition”.
According to official figures, in the last year Russian warships escorted over 30 convoys through the Gulf of Aden with 168 vessels flying flags of 27 countries including 62 Russian-crewed ships. Security of 448 Russian citizens was ensured. Currently, anti-piracy watch off Somalia is kept by Northern Fleet (NF) destroyer Vice Admiral Kulakov.
Experts say actions taken against Somali pirates bring certain results. According to French defense ministry, only 200 pirate attacks were registered in 2011 comparing to 700 ones in 2010. Pirates managed to hijack only 13 commercial ships while in 2010 they captured up to 30 vessels.
Director of the Atlantic Council research center Peter Pham considers armed security on board merchant ships has played a large part in reducing pirate attacks. Goal-oriented steps taken by commercial shipping companies hinder piracy in the region, pointed out Pham.
However, in spite of all countermeasures, there are still many cases of piracy in the Indian Ocean, and demanded ransoms are permanently growing. According to American organization Oceans Beyond Piracy, in 2011 Somali piracy cost world’s shipbuilding industry about $7 bln including over $2 bln spend for protection and security of ships. Generally, experts say Somali pirates annually inflict $12 bln damage to world economy. In 2011, pirates’ income grown due to increased ransoms and made $135 mln. By now, pirates hold about 34 ships and up to 400 hostages.
In 2012, it is planned to strengthen counter-piracy cooperation between Russia and NATO. With this in view, Russian warships will be equipped with NATO navigation and communication systems to improve coordination between anti-piracy forces. That was decided at the recent NATO-Russia Council in Brussels with participation of Chief of Russian General Staff Nikolai Makarov. As for him, mounting of NATO navigation aids onboard Russian warships will improve interaction during joint anti-piracy activities.
Naval Today Staff , June 8, 2012