The European Union has agreed to expand its mission against Somali pirates by allowing military forces to attack land targets as well as those at sea.
In a two-year extension of its mission, EU defence ministers agreed warships could target boats and fuel dumps.
According to media reports, the move is a significant step-up in operations, but one that also risks escalation.
Up to 10 EU naval ships are currently on patrol off the Horn of Africa.
They have policed shipping routes and protected humanitarian aid since 2008. The extension means, they will stay until at least December 2014.