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ECSA: Extension of EU NAVFOR Operation Atalanta vital for maritime security

In a letter to the EU High Representative Josep Borrell Fontelles, ECSA underlined the need for an extension to the current mandate and the continued European leadership in maintaining maritime security through EU NAVFOR Operation Atalanta.

"The EU has shown strong leadership in enhancing the security of ships transiting the Gulf of Aden and the Somali Basin - through which 20% of global trade passes - by the establishment of Operation Atalanta in 2008," wrote Martin Dorsman, ECSA Secretary General. "From the heights of piracy in the region in 2010, the Operation and associated measures have proven to be effective deterrents - achieving several years of strong curtailment."

Nevertheless, the situation remains fragile and easily reversible, with the presence of armed skiffs approaching vessels continuing to be reported.

To maintain a high level of preparedness and keep the number of incidents at a low level, shipowners have been following best management practices, especially when passing high risk areas.

"Yet industry efforts alone cannot replace the presence of naval assets, intelligence-sharing and multi-lateral coordination. The continuation of Operation Atalanta is essential to safeguard maritime transport in the region," continued Mr Dorsman.

The industry therefore strongly recommends the extension of the existing mandate and stands ready to remain a trusted partner to the EU and the Operation.