The United States Response to Piracy off the Coast of Somalia

Date: 09/22/2006 Description: UN Security Council Meeting. - State Dept Image UN Security Council.

Fighting piracy is a vital element of the United States' strategic objectives in Somalia, which are to help this stressed nation to regain stability, eliminate terrorism, and respond to the humanitarian needs of its people. United States actions, taken in concert with those of other concerned countries, are consistent with its traditional interest in ensuring freedom of navigation and safety of the seas, and in protecting American citizens and ensuring access to essential resources.

The U.S. Government Counter-Piracy Steering Group

An executive-level body created to implement the National Action and Partnership Plan to Combat Piracy off the Horn of Africa, this group is co-chaired by the Departments of State and Defense and reports to the National Security Staff. Also represented on this group are the Departments of Homeland Security, Justice, Treasury, Transportation, and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Encouraging International Cooperation and Action at Sea

The United States has worked in close consultation with other members of the United Nations Security Council to adopt more than two dozen Resolutions dealing with suppressing Somali piracy. In addition, the United States helped to create the international Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia to help coordinate and expand national counter-piracy efforts. The U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard support and contribute to the Combined Maritime Force’s Task Force 151 to undertake counter-piracy operations in the region. The United States also supports NATO Operation Ocean Shield and European Union Naval Forces' Operation ATALANTA. The United States actively supports prosecution of suspected pirates by regional states, and through the Department of Justice has demonstrated readiness to pursue prosecution itself when its own citizens and interests are attacked. Finally, the United States works with and through UN agencies such as the International Maritime Organization, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, and other partners to support efforts to develop regional maritime security sector capacity development.

Point of Contact: Donna Hopkins, Coordinator, Counter Piracy and Maritime Security, Office of Plans and Initiatives, Bureau of Political-Military Affairs (PM/PI/CPMS), U.S. Department of State, 2025 E Street, N.W., Suite NW 8090, Washington, DC 20006, (202) 453-9309,