Danes escort mercy ships
Story by PATRICK MAYOYO
Publication Date: 2/6/2008
The Danish navy has taken over the task of escorting mercy ships
to war-ravaged Somalia.
The ships carry food to more than one million starving Somalis on
behalf of the World Food Programme (WFP).
The Danish navy takes over from its French counterpart which has
been escorting WFP ships from Mombasa to Somalia following
increased cases of piracy along the coast of the Horn of Africa
A WFP spokesperson in Nairobi, Ms Penny Ferguson confirmed the
switchover. The French navy has been escorting WFP ships since
mid-November last year.
Last year a total of 31 acts of piracy — three of them against
ships ferrying WFP food to Somalia — were reported off the Somali
coast, with 154 crew members taken hostage.
Before handing over the mandate to escort WFP ships to Denmark,
the French navy had escorted nine shipments of 30,000 tonnes of
food. The food, which can feed 300,000 people for six months.
The UN agency has however said it urgently needs US$15 million to
buy nearly 20,000 metric tonnes of food to cover shortfalls until
The Somali humanitarian mission received a major boost last week
when the International Maritime Organisation (IMO)- backed
proposals, allowing Western naval forces patrolling the Indian
Ocean the right of “hot pursuit”, were adopted.
While the IMO Assembly ruling is not binding on the Transitional
Somali Government, the organisation has appealed to Mogadishu to
cooperate with the ruling in an effort to curb the alarming rise
in cases of piracy off the Horn of Africa.