Pattaya Daily News

10 September 2010 :: 16:09:19 pm 37991

Royal Thai Navy Flotilla Embarks on Anti-Piracy Operation

A Royal Thai Navy flotilla, consisting of 2 ships and over 350 personnel, on Friday embarked on a planed three-month anti-piracy operation from the Sattahip naval docks. The contingent is expected to meet up with an international fleet station in the Gulf of Aden to combat rampant pirate operations in the region.
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Sattahip, the 10th of September 2010: The two vessels, HTMS Pattani and HTMS Similan, set off for the Gulf of Aden Friday morning, with the embarkation ceremony presided over by Thai Defence Minister, General Prawit Wongsuwan. The ships, Chinese-built and European-equipped will carry over 350 navy personnel in what is the first Thai naval operation to be sanctioned outside national maritime borders.

The flotilla, recently approved a Bt270 million budget by the Thai Cabinet, will encompass a 98-day tour off the coast of Somalia, where a contingent of ships from over 20 countries are partaking in anti-piracy operations.

Based in the Gulf of Aden, a crucial international shipping route used to access the Suez Canal, the Thai forces will aid international counterparts in the deterrence of prevalent piracy in the region and the escorting of both cargo and fishing vessels through the troubled waters.

Commander of the Thai forces, Rear Admiral Chaiyot Sunthornnak, revealed his team’s readiness for the operations, welcoming Thailand’s participation in international operations and Thai Navy’s chance to gain valuable training and experience as a result.

International counterparts have since acknowledged Rear Admiral Sunthornnak’s sentiments, commending Thailand’s participation in the operations despite its relative lack of naval assets.

More than 140 piracy-related incidents have been reported off Somalia’s coast since January and more than 30 ships have been hijacked, according to U.N. and anti-piracy task force reports. The payment of huge multi-million dollar ransoms by private shipping companies has significant increased the abundance of pirates in one of the poorest regions of the world.

Unsuccessful prosecution of captured pirates remains a key concern for the international community with measures being considered to prosecute offenders in an international court being considered by the United Nations.

Meanwhile, a team of U.S. Marine commandos successfully stormed a hi-jacked vessel on Thursday, taking control of the ship and taking nine-pirates prisoner without firing a shot. The covert operation was the first of its kind undertaken by the international flotilla, which is primarily concerned with preventive measures, according to a U.S. Navy spokesperson.

Reporter : John Weston   Photo : Internet   Category : World News

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