The Guardian has a story today about how cuts to the Royal Navy have forced it to withdraw from the counter piracy mission off Somalia, citing the usual ‘MoD sources’
Counter-piracy is getting very difficult for the UK. We have two frigates that are supposed to look after contingencies in Falklands, the Gulf and piracy. Fort Victoria is a good platform but we cannot commit frigates to Somalia. They go in and out when they can, but reassurance work in the Gulf is more of a priority now. Many of the people who are good at counter-piracy are now involved in the Olympics, so they are not available either, and won’t be until the autumn at the earliest.
Is there more to this than a simple lack of resources to which the obvious answer is more money?
Or can we ask a few questions…
Has the Royal Navy, in pursuit of its high end platforms, understandably neglected this kind of mission and ended up with both no suitable ships and none of them to be effective in the counter piracy or maritime security role?
Is counter piracy worth the effort, given the legal difficulties, the self evident catch and release programme and the arguable impact on global shipping rates?
If the Royal Navy has emergent commitments like the Olympics, the South Atlantic or Gulf, unlike most of the other contributing nations, why should it not redeploy to meet changing requirements?
Do we think the UK is the world policeman and the MoD a bottomless bag of cash?
In short, should we be concerned?