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Norway will send a warship to join the European Union's anti-piracy
Norway will send a warship to join the European Union's anti-piracy operation off the Somali coast in August, Norwegian radio announced on Monday.

The EU anti-piracy operation, dubbed Atalanta, has been protecting shipping lanes off the Horn of Africa from the threat of Somali pirates since December last year. Naval warships and aircraft from Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Greece have been involved in actively escorting commercial ships through the Gulf of Aden.

The operation is under the command of the British Navy.

Norway is not a member of the European Union.

Somalia's new unity government, which came to power in January, said creating a maritime corridor through the country's territorial waters would help reduce the threat from pirates.

Somali Ambassador to Russia Mohammed Mahmud Handule two weeks ago said the Somali government had already outlined the legal and technical issues involved in creating the corridor.

"The new [Somali] government will actively work on this [problem of piracy]," he said. "We want to create a corridor where from Point A all ships will be put in groups of 5-7, and then our friends, including Russia, will escort them to Point B. Vessels not travelling through that corridor will be considered pirates or poachers."

According to the UN, Somali pirates carried out at least 120 attacks on ships in 2008, resulting in combined ransom payouts of around $150 million.

Around 20 warships from the navies of at least a dozen countries, including Russia, India, the United States, China and Arab states are involved in anti-piracy operations off Somalia, which has been ravaged by years of civil war.


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