Piracy Costs Yemen $150 M

Yemen has said that piracy attacks and armed robbery against vessels in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden had caused US$150 million losses to the local fish sector in 2009.

In a recent report, the government said piracy also caused losses to the safety of navigation in the territorial waters of Yemen as well as losses in other sectors .

The report showed that Yemen was deeply affected by piracy and armed robbery in the Gulf of Aden despite the presence of the international naval task forces in the region, pointing out that piracy attacks have increased twice in 2009, compared with the two previous years.

‘’In 2009 piracy attacks reached 47 while piracy attempts were 181, compared to 42 piracy attacks and 69 attempts in 2008, and 25 attacks and 16 piracy attempts in 2007’’, the government report showed.

Yemen has made efforts with the international community and countries in the region in combating piracy and armed robbery in the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea during the last year, because of piracy posed a threat to national, regional and international security.

In its annual report on the performance, the Yemeni government stressed 48 pirates were detained in 2009, including 30 pirates were handed over to Yemeni authorities by international naval forces in the region.

‘’The total number of pirates who have been arrested by the Yemeni Coastguard forces is 12 pirates as well as 6 pirates were arrested recently’’, the report numbered.

The international naval task force was established in January 2009 by the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) to counter piracy in the Gulf of Aden.

Naval ships and assets from more than 20 nations comprise the US-led Combined Maritime Forces.

Last Sunday, a thirteen-member group of suspected Somali pirates stood trial against a Yemeni court in Hadramout province on piracy charges.

The prosecution in Hadramout accused the Somali suspects of hijacking two Yemeni ships and using them in piracy attacks against foreign vessels in the Gulf of Aden.

The 13 Somalis were arrested by the Yemeni Coastguard forces on May 28, 2010.

The prosecution also said that the suspected pirates had damaged Yemen’s economy and endangered navigation safety in the Yemeni territorial and international waters.

According to economic experts, the increasing piracy attacks against Yemeni and foreign ships have badly affected navigation activities in the Gulf of Aden.

Piracy has been growing in the region because of the deteriorating situations in Somalia that forced over 700,000 Somalis seeking refuge in Yemen.