Piracy off Somalia is being tackled comprehensively across Government Departments in line with the Government's Somalia Strategy and in close co-ordination with international partners.
Over the last 12 months, the UK has contributed to three international counter-piracy operations: this has included the provision of the operation Headquarters and Operation Commander to the EU Naval Force (Operation ATALANTA); The common funded budget for Op ATALANTA in 2009-10, which is paid through the Athena mechanism, currently amounts to €17.64 million, with the UK share approximately £1.15 million. The UK also provides a frigate, tanker, the Deputy Commander and staff to Combined Maritime Forces; and a frigate to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Operation OCEAN SHIELD. Furthermore the UK also provides the UK Maritime Trade Organisation, co-ordinating the movement of merchant shipping and acting as a first point of contact for any ships attacked in the region. The cost of all Ministry of Defence counter piracy activity is not recorded centrally.
It is widely recognised that the solution to piracy lies on land in Somalia through security, economic, and judicial development. As part of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has led and funded two regional needs assessments missions including all key donors to discuss with Somali representatives and others in the region the priorities for capability development in the legal, judicial, penal and maritime security sectors. In line with the internationally agreed outcomes of these needs assessments, the UK and other partners are supporting security sector reform in the region, including assistance to coastguards that will improve maritime security in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden. The FCO has also funded the participation of Somali representatives in CGPCS-related activity.