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US Donates Patrol Boats

Anti piracy operations in Tanzania get boost

Wolfgang H. Thome, eTN  Dec 06, 2010

(eTN) - The United States government donated two state-of-the-art, 27-foot patrol boats to the Tanzanian navy, aimed to boost their ability to track and hunt down pirates from Somalia, who increasingly have been operating in Tanzanian waters off the coast in recent months.

Reports that some of the pirates have in fact made camp at remote locations along Tanzania’s Indian Ocean beaches have not been independently confirmed, but there are persistent rumors that at least in one location, near Lindi, a deserted camp was eventually discovered, which would explain how the hot pursuit of pirates in the waters off Lindi yielded nothing in the end.

While the Tanzanian navy had some limited successes in the past to capture pirates, a more robust approach is now needed from all the countries along the Eastern Indian Ocean seaboard, from Mozambique to Tanzania and Kenya, to more decisively engage pirates and more robustly combat them. Some shipping lines are said to be considering a withdrawal of their port calls in affected harbors due to the increased risks of traversing these Indian Ocean waters, which if found to be true, could set an alarming trend and make trade to and from Eastern Africa much more difficult and also costly.

The Seychelles, in comparison, has actively engaged the ocean terrorists and recorded several successful rescue missions and brought the Somalis to court in Victoria on piracy, terrorism, and related charges, unlike the UK navy which stood by watching the Chandlers being abducted, or other naval assets deployed by the international naval coalition watching captured vessels escape to pirate havens. Only now, and seemingly reluctantly, are the naval coalition vessels starting to use their superior equipment to retake captured ships while still at sea, as seen a few weeks ago when a ship was stormed and the terrorists arrested.

It was also ascertained that cruise tourism has indeed taken a major hit for this part of the Indian Ocean as more and more cruise lines have relocated their vessels to safer waters elsewhere, standing by, watching, and waiting until the situation has at last been brought under full control. Until then, however, the ports of Zanzibar, Dar es Salaam, Mombasa, Victoria, the Malagasy ports, and even those as far as Reunion and Mauritius will see less cruises arrive on their shores to the detriment of the respective tourism sectors and denying cruise travelers the opportunity to visit Eastern Africa.

Anti piracy operations in Tanzania get boost
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