New Commander Takes Over EU Anti Piracy Team

Extracted 02AUG2011 from

SOMALIA – Today (1st August) Major General Buster Howes OBE handed over the responsibility of Operation Commander of the European Union Naval Force Somalia, Operation Atalanta to Rear Admiral Duncan Potts. Rear Admiral Potts has extensive operational experience across the Joint Environment within both the United Kingdom and multi-national defence organizations, particularly in the Middle East Region and his new role involves the safe delivery of freight consignments of aid to the stricken region and dealing with increasing piracy of all types of vessel...

The news comes as a maritime security alert was being issued after pirates in the Gulf of Guinea seized two Panamanian-registered ships on 31st July, staging the second attack in the area in just under a week. Nearly a dozen heavily armed pirates boarded the two vessels which were carrying diesel off the coast of Benin, but they fled after being intercepted by a naval boat.

Piracy is rising in the Gulf of Guinea and while it is not likely to hit the levels seen off Somalia where law-enforcement is far worse, the issue is likely to intensify further unless the region's weak naval and coastguard defences are increased.