Japan’s Self-Defense Forces (SDF) vessels escorted 15 commercial ships in the Gulf of Aden off Somalia in April to protect them from pirate attacks, the Japanese transport ministry said on 15 May.
Of the 15 commercial ships escorted by the SDF vessels on seven occasions under Japan’s Anti-Piracy Law, only one was Japanese-registered, while the remaining 14 were foreign-registered. Five of these vessels were oil tankers, seven were general cargo ships, one was a special cargo vessel, one was an LPG carrier, and one was a passenger vessel.
Of the 14 foreign-registered ships, two were operated by Japanese shipping firms, while the remaining 12 were operated by foreign shipping companies.
The Anti-Piracy Law, which came into effect on 24 July 2009, allows the SDF to escort foreign commercial ships and fire at pirate vessels if they ignore warning signals and approach merchant ships.
Under the law, the SDF has escorted 3,550 commercial ships on 606 occasions in the Gulf of Aden between 28 July 2009 and 30 April 2015.