In a statement released on 30 April, the German defense ministry said that the United States had asked (and Berlin would authorize) that the country's navy would take over the role as "commander task force" of the multinational patrol of sea routes off the east African coast - as soon as possible.
Twelve warships from Germany and other European nations, along with German long-range reconnaissance aircraft currently based in Kenya, were part of the mission to monitor sea routes around the Horn of Africa. The intent is to prevent any al Qaeda fighters from escaping to chaotic Somalia, where it is feared they could reestablish training bases.
The German frigate Emden happened upon two boats apparently involved in illegal activities on the night of 3 April, while patrolling the coastal waters off Somalia's coast. The frigate turned on its searchlights, came under fire from the boats and responded with a warning shot across their bows - which sent the two boats fleeing. This incident was reported in the 28 April issue of the German newspaper 'Welt am Sonntag". - Adam Geibel