German parliament OKs anti-piracy mission off Somalia 2008-12-19 22:47:54   Print

    BERLIN, Dec. 19 (Xinhua) -- The German parliament on Friday approved the use of a warship in an European Union anti-piracy mission off the coast of Somalia.

    This would be the first time for the German navy to go abroad to conduct an anti-piracy mission.

    Germany will send a naval frigate, the Karlsruhe, and up to 1,400 sailors, airmen and other military personnel to participate in the EU mission, code-named Atalanta.

    The German mission will last one year and cost about 45 millioneuros (about 63 million U.S. dollars).

    Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet has agreed that the sailors on the Karlsruhe should have a "robust mandate" to shoot at pirates and liberate prisoners by force if other deterrence fails.The vessel normally has a crew of 220.

    The Karlsruhe will be allowed to capture pirates and send them to Germany for trial only if they have harmed German citizens or ships.

    The Atalanta mission is intended to protect sea lanes in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean off the coast of Somalia, including routes for aid shipments into Somali ports.

Editor: Yan
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