A German naval vessel helped avert another hijacking attempt by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden. Meanwhile, France and the US are drafting a United Nations resolution to put a stop to the piracy.
The Emden responded to the Japanese tanker's distress call
Somali pirates attempting to hijack a Japanese oil tanker in the Gulf of Aden were thwarted in part due to the intervention of German Navy frigate, the Emden, which is patrolling the area as part of the international anti-terrorism operation, Enduring Freedom.
According to Japanese shipping company Nippon Yusen KK, the Takayam oil tanker was attacked early on Monday, April 21, by a small boat off the northern coast of Somalia. A rocket left a hole from which hundreds of gallons of fuel leaked, the ship's operator said.
The tanker sent out a radio distress call, which was received by the Emden, a German Navy spokesperson said. The frigate headed straight for the scene, sending ahead a helicopter to intercept the pirates. By the time the helicopter arrived, the pirates had fled in their speedboat, the spokesman said, adding that the mere threat of the naval force had been enough to scare off the bandits.
Somali troops storm Dubai ship
Yemeni coastguard forces also claimed a role in helping to save the Japanese tanker from Somali pirates, Yemen's official news agency reported.
French cruise ship Le Ponant was seized by pirates earlier this month
A recent surge in hijacking attempts for ransom has made the waters off Somalia one of the world's most dangerous shipping zones.
On Tuesday, Somali troops stormed a Dubai-flagged ship that had been hijacked, releasing its crew and arresting seven pirates, Somali authorities said. They pledged to do the same to rescue a Spanish fishing vessel being held by pirates since the weekend. Pirates also stormed a French luxury yacht earlier this month.
US, France draft UN resolution
France and the United States have said they are drafting a United Nations resolution to arrest pirates. According to France's UN ambassador, Jean-Maurice Ripert, the resolution would authorize foreign governments to arrest pirates in territorial waters and prosecute suspects.
"We want to do it fast, but it could take one or two weeks because it has to be by consensus -- it is not confrontational," Ripert said.
EU sources say the European Commission has agreed a much touted plan to inject 315 billion euros into the EU's ailing economy. But critics questioned its power to kick-start growth and tackle record unemployment.
Russian oil giant Rosneft has said it will unilaterally cut its oil output to stem the crude price slide. The move comes after inconclusive talks with other oil producers and two days ahead of a crucial OPEC Meeting.
Oil prices have slumped recently as the world's biggest oil producers refuse to cut output. The drop is undermining the US shale oil industry's profits, soon after it made the US the world's number 1 oil producer.