Australia has pledged $2 million for the troubled African nation of Somalia, and is considering sending a naval ship to the Gulf of Aden to help fight piracy.

The federal government has also given $1.5 million to the United Nations humanitarian appeal and $500,000 to the African Union.

Foreign Minister Stephen Smith says the transitional government in Somalia needed help to re-establish peace and security.

“The very terrible situation on the ground in Somalia over the past two decades has added to the difficulties of piracy off the coast of Somalia in the Gulf of Aden and the Horn of Africa,” Mr Smith told Sky News.

Two Australian warships on Sunday rushed to the aid of a freighter under attack in the Gulf of Aden, off the Somali coast, from pirates firing rocket propelled grenades and attempting to board the vessel by force.

The Australian government was considering whether to send a naval ship to the Gulf of Aden to aid existing anti-piracy taskforces.

“It’s not generally what you’d describe as our area of orientation,” Mr Smith told ABC Television.

“We know from general experience that the Gulf of Aden is of course a very important transport route… it’s very important to Australian exporters.”

Sourse The Age