Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Cuts force Royal Navy to drop Somalia piracy patrol

Four frigates scrapped in defence review leave navy unable to commit full-time to David Cameron's foreign policy priority

(..this may be why the cutbacks are in place but these are no anti-piracy vessels..they plan for yesterday's wars, while piracy is here and now....what was that saying about governments always planning for the last war?.....)
The UK has had to scale back its commitment to counter-piracy because the Royal Navy no longer has enough warships to dedicate one to Somalia all year round.
While the US, France, Italy, Denmark and other nations still send frigates to thwart criminals who cause havoc with international trade, the Guardian has learned that Britain has quietly withdrawn its ships from these patrols, even though David Cameron has made Somalia's piracy problem a foreign policy priority.
Piracy cost the world economy $7bn (£4.3bn) last year. Figures show the pirates raised almost $160m from hostage ransoms, but 24 of their captives died.
British businessman David Tebbutt was one of their victims, and his wife, Judith, was held for six months before being released in March.
Because of defence cuts, the UK can deploy only two frigates for contingency operations east of the Suez canal. They have to cover a massive area of ocean stretching from the Gulf to the Falklands. Neither can be committed to piracy full-time, though HMS Westminster "dips in" when it can, sources say......(click here for full story)

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