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Egypt won't join alliances against maritime piracy except under a UN flag

February 20, 2014 at 3:34 pm

The Commander of the Egyptian Navy has said that his country will not participate in any international alliances against maritime piracy unless they arise out of a UN resolution. Mohab Mamish is also a member of Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. He told a press conference on Thursday’s Navy Day that if the UN issues such a resolution, Egypt will take part gladly. “We depend on ourselves to secure our territorial waters and the Suez Canal,” he said, “and by using the strength at our disposal and being vigilant, Egypt will not allow its territorial waters to be compromised. However, we would join an anti-piracy alliance under the UN flag.”

Commander Mamish pointed out that it is very difficult for acts of piracy to take place in the Red Sea due to the geography, the lack of ports for pirates to use, and a series of observation posts along the coastline. His navy, he told the journalists, “can secure the Suez Canal and all 21 Egyptian ports.” This, he stressed, helps to achieve economic security; around 95 percent of Egypt’s exports leave the country by sea.

Mamish acknowledged that his submarine fleet needs to be upgraded if it is to counter any hostile moves around Egypt’s coast. “Nevertheless, there is good news in this regard, as we always seek to keep up-to-date.”

Egypt has 2,376 kilometres of coastline on the Mediterranean Sea, the Gulf of Suez and the Red Sea. Maritime security is of vital strategic importance, not least to protect the country’s offshore natural gas and oil platforms.