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Three Pirate Centres Planned for the Coast of Yemen

By Sue Richards last modified Sep 18, 2008 09:56 AM

Published: 2008-09-18 09:56:18
Topics: Piracy
Countries: Somalia , Yemen

Yemen to establish three regional anti-piracy centers along the Gulf of Aden

The Yemeni government approved on Tuesday 9 September the establishment of three regional centers to combat maritime piracy in the Gulf of Aden and Bab Al-Mandab Strait and to protect international maritime traffic in these areas.

The government declared that the three centers would be established in the port cities of Aden and Mukkalla, on the Gulf of Aden, and the Red Sea Port of Hudeidah. They would work to “enhance security and stability in the region and protect different ships from piracy.”

Sail-World.com report that Yemen will host the second regional meeting on combating piracy on 27-30 October, with 20 countries participating. Diplomatic sources said that Egypt, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Djibouti, Jordan, Somalia, Comoros, France, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Maldives, The Seychelle Islands, South Africa, Tanzania, Eritrea, Mozambique and Yemen would sign a memorandum of understanding to combat piracy.

Since the beginning of the year, over 34 ships, tankers and yachts have been hijacked in the region of the Horn of Africa and in the Gulf of Aden. Eight of these piracy acts have taken place since July and have aimed to sieze goods and kidnap crews of the ships in order to demand ransom.

For his part, Shuja Al-Deen Mahdi, general director of Coastguard operations, told the Yemen Times that international support for the three new anti-piracy centers would include providing them with equipment, modern liaison devices and boats, as well as new maritime platforms.

“We are in need of international support, especially from Gulf countries, to secure the coast of the Arabian Sea along the Abyan and Al-Mahrah governorates,” said Al-Mahdi, pointing out that most drug-smuggling operations from Africa and Asia cross this area on their way to Gulf countries.

He confirmed that Yemen was “currently unable to secure international navigation routes”, noting that this was despite the Yemeni Coastguard running five anti-piracy centers in Aden, Al-Buraiqah, Ras Amran, Khawr Al-Umrah in the Lahj governorate and in the Shaqrah region of the Abyan governorate.

He maintained that the Yemeni Coastguard Authority needs ten new fighter boats in order to be able to undertake its task properly and stay out at sea for weeks without coming back to the mainland for fuel. He said that the fighter boats available to the Yemeni Coastguard at present are incapable of carrying out long-term maritime tasks.

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