Japan’s Self-Defense Forces (SDF) vessels escorted 12 commercial ships in the waters of the Gulf of Aden off Somalia in June to protect them against pirate attacks, the Japanese transport ministry said on 10 July.
The 12 commercial ships escorted by the SDF vessels on eight occasions under Japan’s Anti-Piracy Law were all foreign-registered, including four vessels operated by Japanese shipping firms.
Of the 12 commercial ships escorted by the SDF vessels in June, five were oil tankers, five were general cargo ships and two were liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) carriers.
The Anti-Piracy Law, which was enacted in Japan’s parliament on 19 June 2009 and took effect on24 July 2009, allows the SDF to escort foreign commercial ships and fire at pirate boats if they ignore warning signals and approach merchant ships.
Under the law, the SDF escorted a total of 3,577 commercial ships on 621 occasions in the waters of the Gulf of Aden off Somalia between 28 July 2009 and 30 June 2015.