During their recent counter-piracy patrols, Italian sailors from Operation Atalanta’s warship, ITS Euro, met some Somali fishermen out at sea in the Gulf of Aden.
The Somali fishermen explained to the Italian sailors that they routinely stay out at sea for between 10-15 days to catch their fish, but with the heat of the midday sun, their food and water does not last too long.
The Italian sailors took the opportunity to provide the fishermen with some fresh water and non-perishable food. They also explained how Operation Atalanta warships are helping to keep the seas off Somalia safe from piracy attacks.
Attacks by Somali pirates reached a peak in January 2011, with 736 hostages and 32 merchant ships being held for ransom in anchorages close to the Somali coast and huge ransoms being demanded for their release. Thanks to the efforts of naval forces and the self-protection measures implemented by the maritime industry, this figure has dropped significantly. As of September 2016, no ships are being held, but 26 hostages remain in captivity.