Tue, December 23, 2008
World > Africa > Somali pirate threat

German warship to leave for anti-piracy mission off Somali

2008-12-22 17:42:52 GMT2008-12-23 01:42:52 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

BERLIN, Dec. 22 (Xinhua) -- German Navy frigate, the Karlsruhe, is set to leave the German base in Djibouti on Tuesday to join European Union's anti-piracy mission off Somali, German news agency DPA reported on Monday.

On Monday, Vice-Admiral Hans-Joachim Stricker and German Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung visited the crew of the Karlsruhe before their departure for Somalia.

"When I look at the EU operational plan to deploy ships and aircraft, I am confident we can fulfill the requirements," Stricker said.

Stricker said Germany had a fundamental interest in "safe sea-lanes to secure free trade on international markets."

The EU's mission, code-named Operation Atalanta, is primarily aimed at guarding boats carrying aid to Somali ports and its presence is also expected to deter pirate attacks on other sea traffic through the Gulf of Aden.

Earlier last Friday, the German parliament approved the use of a German warship in the EU's anti-piracy mission.

This is the first time for German navy to go abroad to conduct anti-piracy mission. Up to 1,400 sailors, airmen and other military personnel are participating in the mission, which will last one year and costs around 45 million euros (around 63 million U.S. dollars).

The Merkel cabinet has agreed that the sailors on the Karlsruhe should have a "robust mandate" to shoot at pirates and liberate prisoners by force if other deterrence fails.

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