TANZANIA (eTN) – Less than two weeks since the Tanzanian soldiers intercepted Somali pirates during an attempt to hijack an oil drilling ship in the Indian Ocean, this week, an oil tanker ship escaped a pirate hijack attempt near Mtwara port in Tanzania’s southern border with Mozambique.
Reports from the Tanzania Ports Authority said the Somali pirates had attacked Panama-registered oil tanker ship, Anuket Jade, while sailing to off-load at Mtwara port, about 450 kilometers south of Tanzania’s capital of Dar es Salaam.
The pirates attacked the ship with heavy guns with rains of bullets before the Tanzanian navy patrol ship rescued the ship and its 18 crew members after the captain radioed the soldiers.
On noticing the closer presence of the Tanzanian marine soldiers, the pirates sped away in a small boat.
The European Union has challenged East African countries to work together and define a judicial mechanism in handling Somali pirates.
The French Ambassador to Tanzania, Jacque Champagne de Labriolle, said the East African countries, which were increasingly becoming victims of the pirates, had no clear judicial system for piracy cases.
The ambassador, who was speaking from the EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR)-French destroyer De Grasse which anchored at the Dar es Salaam port last Sunday, went further and urged international courts to think of taking on cases involving piracy in the Indian Ocean, as the impact of the crime was shared by many countries around the world.
Head of the EU delegation to Tanzania, Tim Clarke, shared the concern saying there has been a legal uncertainty over where to take pirates once captured by their (EU) naval forces.
“There is no agreement signed yet on how to deal with pirates once captured. We have, however, showed our sincere commitment in helping Tanzania and other countries in dealing with pirates,” he said.
Ambassador Clarke noted further that the EU has already spent over one million Euro in the just-expired agreement with the Kenyan government of suing Somalia pirates.
He, however, also noted that dialogues were still going on with affected countries and that the EU was optimistic that there would be solutions in the end.
Ambassador Clarke pointed out that the EU believes that restoration of the rule of law in Somalia was a vital measure in carrying out successful missions against piracy in Indian Ocean.
He said that the matter was now at the EU’s top most agendas but insisted that no military measures could be taken so far amid lack of UN Security Council and African Union approval.
The EU NAVFOR Force Commander, Philippe Coindreau said that the EU is conducting a military operation to help deter, prevent, and repress acts of piracy and armed robbery off the coast of Somalia. The De Grasse has a crew of 315 sailors.