A top U.S. Navy official said commercial fleets should take a new measure to avoid the threat of piracy off the horn of Africa: lock’n'load.
Navy Adm. Mark P. Fitzgerald, commander of U.S. naval forces in Europe and Africa and of NATO’s Allied Joint Task Force Command Naples, told Pentagon reporters that the scope of the piracy problem is too great to be policed by military vessels alone.
“We could put a World War II fleet of ships out there,” Fitzgerald said, referring to the Gulf of Aden and the Mozambique Channel off the Indian coast, “and we still wouldn’t be able to cover the whole ocean.”
The problem of Somali piracy goes back to the nation’s government, Fitzgerald said. Without a strong government that can confront the problem within its borders, the root of piracy won’t be removed.
In the near-term, Fitzgerald said it is “incumbent upon the vessels who are sailing the high seas to either protect themselves or accept the dangers.”
“Commercial ships should take appropriate protections,” he added, “because we cannot offer 100-percent guarantees of protection as the ships go through.”
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Naval officials say the U.S. and its allies will need to use better intelligence gathering in their battle against Somali pirates.
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