Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Somali Pirates - Stop Paying Ransoms

The Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime has called on shipping companies and insurance companies to stop paying ransoms to Somali pirates.

Executive Director of UNODC Antonio Maria Costa made the appeal alongside proposals for "ship riders" from neighbouring nations to be placed on warships operating off the horn of Africa. The task of these local law enforcement officers would be to formally arrest pirates apprehended by international navies and escort them to their home country to stand trial.

"Pirates can not be keel-hauled or forced to walk the plank, nor should they be dumped off the Somali coast", said Costa, "they need to be brought to justice". The UNODC Director suggested that countries such as Djibouti, Kenya, Tanzania and Yemen could supply officers who, subject to international agreement, could be placed on board the European, American and Indian naval vessals currently patrolling the waters off Somalia, from where local organised gangs have been attacking and capturing ever larger ships and demanding payments in return for the crew, ship and cargoes.

Similar patterns of regional cooperation have sucessfully reduced piracy in the Straits of Malacca, near Indonesia, and have also been used to apprehended and charge drug traffickers in the Carribean in recent years.

The UN proposal comes on the back of an International Conference on Piracy around Somalia which took place on December 11th in Nasirobi.

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