An India-bound Ethiopian freighter was attacked by four pirates skiffs in the southern Red Sea yesterday, 25 July.
Last night, shortly before entering the Bab el-Mandab, the narrow strait connecting the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden, an Ethiopian cargo ship was attacked by pirates about 30 Kilometers northeast of Assab in southern Eritrea. According to the NATO Shipping Centre the pirates fired at the ship with assault rifles and RPGs. The ship, whose name is not yet known, increased speed and applied unspecified countermeasures.
The pirates apparently tried to board the ship but failed and eventually gave up. The Ethiopian ship continued on its course.
Because of the increasing pressure on the pirates on their own turf off the Somali coast, attacks are now carried out in less well protected areas like the Red Sea or further down the African coast. To the east the pirates increased their range almost to the coast of India.
Although it is perfectly logical to answer the increasing threat in the Gulf of Aden and adjacent waters with robust force, even the most powerful navy will not be able to deal with the problem in a decisive way. In order to achieve that, the international community will have to address the cause of the problem: the incredible poverty and the de-facto lawlessness in Somalia.