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Minister for Defence announces Australian contribution to international anti-piracy efforts.



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THE HON. JOEL FITZGIBBON MP Minister for Defence

www.defence.gov.au

Friday, 29 May 2009 095/2009

MINISTER FOR DEFENCE ANNOUNCES AUSTRALIAN CONTRIBUTION TO INTERNATIONAL ANTI-PIRACY EFFORTS

Minister for Defence, the Hon. Joel Fitzgibbon MP, today announced that the Australian Defence Force would contribute to international efforts to combat piracy off the Horn of Africa.

“The contribution will help to curb piracy in the region, protect Australian and international maritime trade and underline our commitment to targeted increased engagement with Africa,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.

Australia will flexibly task our frigate and AP-3C maritime patrol aircraft that are currently based in the Middle East between anti-piracy operations and their current counter-terrorism and maritime security patrol duties under OP SLIPPER. This will enable Australia to provide a robust and effective contribution to anti-piracy efforts while ensuring we remain able to respond to the most pressing tasking across the region at any time.

Australia will also play a significant role in broader maritime security efforts in the region by providing on a rotational basis a Commander and Fleet Battle staff to command counter-terrorism activities under international Task Force 150 from Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) Headquarters in Bahrain. Additionally, Defence will provide a small number of Navy planning staff to CMF Headquarters for multinational anti-piracy and maritime security planning and co-ordination.

“Piracy is a threat to global maritime security, including to Australia’s merchant trade and to Australian tourists passing through the Gulf of Aden and the Suez Canal. In 2008 there were 111 pirate attacks in the region, with 42 successful hijackings. There have been around 100 registered attacks, including over 25 successful hijackings, so far this year,” said the Minister.

This commitment reflects Australia’s support for United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1846 and 1851, which call on states to take an active role in the fight against piracy off the coast of Somalia.

“Our contribution helps demonstrate Australia’s commitment to global security and our ongoing support to the United Nations,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.

Imagery will be available at: http://www.defence.gov.au/media/galleries/index.htm

Media contacts: Christian Taubenschlag (Joel Fitzgibbon): 02 6277 7800 or 0438 595 567 Defence Media Liaison: 02 6265 3343 or 0408 498 664