The United States' pirate-fighting naval unit was formed from an existing force in the area that was guarding against drug and weapons trafficking and will begin operations in mid-January. The U.S. hopes other nations will join together in a coalition of navies; other countries independently attacking piracy in the Gulf of Aden include Germany, China, India, Iran and Russia. The goal of the U.S. unit will be to deter and disrupt pirate activity; the force does not, however, have the authority to strike at pirate vessels out to sea or pirate bases ashore, as reported by the Associated Press.
Since pirate attacks have increased near Somalia, several cruise lines, including Hapag-Lloyd, Peter Deilmann and Plantours & Partner, have altered itineraries so passengers would not have to travel through this dangerous region. Cruise lines with ships still scheduled to sail through the Gulf of Aden include Royal Caribbean, P&O Cruises and Azamara Cruises.
--by Erica Silverstein, Associate Editor
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