Japan’s Self-Defense Forces (SDF) vessels escorted 15 commercial ships in the Gulf of Aden off Somalia in May to protect them from pirate attacks, the Japanese transport ministry said.
The 15 commercial ships escorted by the SDF vessels on seven occasions under Japan’s Anti-Piracy Law were all foreign-registered, including one vessel operated by a Japanese shipping firm.
Of the 15 commercial ships escorted by the SDF vessels in May, five were oil tankers, eight were general cargo ships, one was a special cargo vessel, and one was a passenger vessel.
The Anti-Piracy Law, which was enacted in Japan’s parliament on 19 June 2009 and took effect on 24 July 2009, allows the SDF to escort foreign commercial ships and fire at pirate boats if they ignore warning signals and approach the merchant ships.
Under the law, the SDF has escorted a total of 3,565 commercial ships on 613 occasions in the Gulf of Aden off Somalia between 28 July 2009 and 31 May 2015.