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24 March 2011 Last updated at 12:57 ET

European ship chased by Somali Pirates EU anti-piracy task force reports that the European Civil Protection Mechanism vessel carrying European citizens being evacuated from Yemen has been chased by a Somali pirate ship in the Red Sea. The number of people on the vessel has been reported to be around 600 which include nationals of Britain, Spain, France, USA and a few other countries. The vessel was part of the collective evacuation action of the EU, coordinated by the newly-established diplomatic corps, the European External Action Service. The chase caused great terror among the passengers and details of how the vessel escaped remains unclear. The evacuation mission was orchestrated due to rising political unrest in Yemen and security concerns in the region. The passengers who have been under great stress were very scared but the reports reveal that no one was hurt. International naval patrols off the coast of Somalia have had little success in stopping pirates in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean. And pirates have made millions of dollars in recent hijacking and holding ships for ransom. Although piracy has been mainly motivated by economic income, the commentators are pointing out to the political symbolism that might be underlying this "chase". The recent NATO mission to Libya has not been received well in the region as the attacks were likened to medieval crusades. In response to the Arab uprisings, High Representative Catherine Ashton’s response has been criticized as being passive and invisible. However, at the same time, insiders tell that Ashton has been completely sidelined by the French and British. Ties between the pirates and Al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula (AQAP) has been closer than ever. Thus political motives in this harassment as a response to European approach to Arab uprisings are considered to be a possibility.


European Ship Chased by Somalian Pirates