'Stronger law needed against Somali piracy' | world | Hindustan Times
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'Stronger law needed against Somali piracy'

world Updated: Nov 19, 2009 12:47 IST

UN Security Council members on Wednesday called for intensified efforts to fight piracy off the Somali coast and criticised the practice of paying ransom.

The members said during a session on piracy and the situation in Somalia that the coordinated fight by navies from several countries failed to deter pirates.

They called for more "crucial and robust" ways to fight the pirates, who are currently detaining 11 ships and 254 crew members.

European Union (EU) representative, Swedish Ambassador Anders Liden, called for legal options for arrested piracy suspects and for efficient and credible trials. He said the EU has apprehended 75 suspects and handed them over to Kenya for prosecution.

"Pirates are now willing to venture further out to sea in search of targets, and to counter this we need a different type of military response, led by intelligence," said new British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant.

"The military commanders know what they need in terms of military capability, and the international community must help to deliver this," Grant said.

US Deputy Ambassador Rosemary DiCarlo complained that ransom payments, while freeing hijacked ships and crew members, have had the adverse effect of encouraging and increasing piracy.

DiCarlo called on governments to adopt a policy of "no concessions" in the face of increased piracy.

Countries fighting piracy off the Somali coast have formed a contact group to coordinate international efforts aimed at ending the menace.

Grant said military commanders involved in anti-piracy efforts are "shocked by the lack of adherence by sectors of merchant shipping community to the guidance which is given by the International Maritime Organisation and industry bodies".

He said at least a quarter of merchant ships fail to follow the guidance, making them more vulnerable to hijacking.

Pirates this week released Spanish fishing boat Alakrana, reportedly after its owner paid a ransom. They continue to detain two Britons, Paul and Rachel Chandler, whose yacht was seized on Oct 23.

Grant said Kenya has led major efforts to detain and prosecute pirates, while Seychelles has agreed to hold pirate suspects pending their trial.

Japan, a member of the council, said multinational efforts are needed to continue the fight against piracy. Japan has provided more than $13 million to the International Maritime Organisation to fight piracy.

"Given the broad scope of the negative effects of piracy, a multi-faceted and coordinated approach must be pursued at the global, regional and national level to protect the vital sea route," said Japanese Ambassdor Yukio Takasu.