Monday, March 16, 2009

NATO Deploys to Somalia, Again

Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 is heading to Somalia to fight piracy. Story here:

NATO is to divert seven warships, bound on the alliance's first-ever visit to Asia and Australia, to the coast of Somalia to fight piracy later this month, alliance ambassadors decided on Friday.

The fleet of six frigates and a tanker, which had long been scheduled to visit Pakistan, Singapore and Australia, will first spend a month fighting piracy off the Horn of Africa, NATO said.
The story goes on to say the pair of German ships will fly the NATO flag for most of the journey, but will fly the EU flag when fighting piracy. According to the new and improved SNMG1 website, the composition of SNMG1 is:
NRP Álvares Cabral (F331)
FGS Emden (F 210)
USS Klakring (FFG 42)
SPS Blas de Lezo (F103)
HNLMS De Zeven Provinciën (F802)
HMCS Winnipeg (FFH 338)
FGS Spessart (A1442)
Also soon to join the pirate fight is the South Korean destroyer ROKS Munmu the Great (DDH 976) and two Japanese destroyers JDS Sazanami (DD-113) and JDS Samidare (DD 106). The addition of 10 ships over the next month is almost a 40% increase in total vessels fighting piract.

Now... who wants to take a WAG at how much it costs to operate one of these ships a month? Now that the USS Boxer (LHD 4) is the flagship of CTF-151, I'd wager the combined amount of money spent for all the naval forces operating to combat piracy for one month is higher than all the money earned in piracy last year. At least we share these costs with the rest of the world, but it goes to the heart of how unlikely this is to be sustained throughout the year.

BTW... did anyone else notice the fire on the Boxer over the weekend? Both sailors hurt are expected to make a full recovery, but noteworthy nonetheless.

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