BRUSSELS – The European Union may expand its naval anti-piracy operations to cover the Seychelles islands, 1,500 kilometres from the Somali coastline, Germany’s defence minister said Monday.
The Seychelles, an archipelago of more than 100 islands, has been the scene of several recent attacks.
“We see that the pirates are extending their activities into the Indian Ocean, so the area around the Seychelles should be included in the operation,” German Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung said before a meeting of the European Union’s foreign and defence ministers.
Over the last two years, pirates along Somalia’s 3,100-kilometre coast have hijacked dozens of ships for ransoms worth millions of dollars.
The EU flotilla, along with NATO and U.S. task forces and ships from several individual countries, have focused their patrols on the Gulf of Aden and the waters off Somalia’s coast, where most of the hijackings have occurred.
NATO said Monday the Canadian frigate HMCS Winnipeg had thwarted an attack on a Maltese cargo ship, the MV Sea Pride.
The EU operation, code named Atalanta, is the first naval mission mounted by the 27-country organization.