German parliament approves anti-piracy mission

Other News Materials 19 December 2008 14:01 (UTC +04:00)

Germany's parliament gave its approval Friday to the deployment of the German navy in a European Union anti-piracy operation off Somalia, reported dpa.

Bundestag deputies voted 491-55 in favour of participation in the EU's Operation Atalanta.

Under Operation Atlanta, which was formally launched on December 8, the EU expects to operate a flotilla of six warships and three reconnaissance planes off Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden.

Germany has offered a naval frigate, the Karlsruhe, and up to 1,400 sailors, airmen and other military personnel.

The aim of the mission is to protect merchant ships from pirate attacks and guard relief supplies destined for poverty-stricken Somalia.

Pirates have seized more than 200 ships off the Horn of Africa this year and are currently believed to be holding 17 vessels and some 200 crew members hostage.