Japan’s Self-Defense Forces (SDF) vessels escorted eight commercial ships in the waters of the Gulf of Aden off Somalia in July to protect them against pirate attacks, the Japanese transport ministry said on 7 August.
The eight ships were all foreign-registered, including one vessel operated by a Japanese shipping firm. Six were oil tankers and two were general cargo ships.
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 merchant ships.
Under the law, the SDF escorted a total of 3,585 commercial ships on 627 occasions in the waters of the Gulf of Aden off Somalia between 28 July, 2009 and 31 July, 2015.