Dutch submarine boosts anti-piracy mission off Somalia coast

22nd June 2010, Comments 0 comments

A Dutch submarine will be the first to take part in patrols off the coast of Somalia as part of NATO's counter piracy mission in the area, the ministry of defence said on Tuesday.

"The Netherlands will deploy a submarine from the end of September to the end of November," said the ministry in a statement.

"It's specific capacities (to see without being seen) represent great added security in the vast operations zone," it said.

The Netherlands, which has four submarines, was the first NATO member to respond to the alliance's request for a submarine to be made available," added ministry spokesman Robin Middel.

Since 2008, an international flotilla of warships has been patrolling the Gulf of Aden, one of the globe's busiest maritime trade routes, to stop Somali pirates from hijacking commercial vessels.

NATO in March extended until the end of 2012 its Ocean Shield anti-piracy mission off the coast of East Africa. The mission was launched in mid-2009.

Ocean Shield is run out of Lisbon, with tactical decisions taken at Northwood, England, which is also home to the European Union's Navfor anti-piracy mission in the same region.

© 2010 AFP

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