The Danish government is deploying a Challenger airplane to support maritime security in the Horn of Africa.
Additionally, the government decided that Denmark will again make a Challenger airplane available for the Mediterranean efforts to monitor EU’s outer borders.
“I am pleased that once again, Denmark can play a part in maritime security in the Horn of Africa region. The waters of the region play a vital role in international commercial shipping, and Denmark has previously won great international recognition for our role here,” said Anders Samuelsen, Denmark’s minister for foreign affairs.
The Danish air detachment will be deployed for about 30 days from the middle of May 2017 to the middle of June 2017. During its deployment, the detachment will be tasked to support Task Force 150 by gathering intelligence, which can contribute to on-going surveillance and building situational awareness in the Indian Ocean. At the time of deployment, Task Force 150 will be under French leadership.
Danish warships and patrols had been helping NATO keep Somali pirates at bay in the Indian Ocean for nine years through to late last year, capturing 295 suspected pirates, of which 50 were forwarded for prosecution in other countries.
The maritime security situation in the Horn of Africa has become intense again after a resurgence of Somali pirate attacks in the region for the past two months.
According to a recent report by the International Chamber of Commerce, pirates and armed gangs attacked about 43 ships and captured 58 seafarers in the first quarter of the year 2017. While the phenomenon appears to be spiking worldwide, including off the coast of Nigeria and the Southern Philippines, the Gulf of Aden and the coast of Somalia feature strongly in the latest statistics.
Due to the decline in successful hijackings from 2008 in the Horn of Africa, a NATO naval force was pulled out of the region at the end of 2016.
The US Navy has suggested a severe drought in the region is partially responsible for the return of piracy in the region.