U.N. says warships can chase pirates into Somali waters

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U.N. says warships can chase pirates into Somali waters

Post  Sirop14 on Tue Jun 03, 2008 10:19 pm

United Nations (CNN) -- The U.N. Security Council on Monday gave nations new powers to pursue pirates into the waters off Somalia, an effort to combat a new spate of hijackings off the Horn of Africa.

The Spanish-registered Playa de Bakio was seized by pirates off Somalia in April.

The unanimous resolution calls on U.N. members to use "all necessary means to repress acts of piracy and armed robbery," and authorizes warships to chase pirates into Somali territorial waters if necessary.

"This allows and calls on the member states to assist the authorities in Somalia to combat piracy off the coast of Somalia," said Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

Somalia's U.N.-backed transitional government has said it would welcome international assistance in battling the pirates. Video Watch action being taken to counter piracy »

Monday's resolution also encourages U.N. member states to provide technical assistance to the Somali government and cooperate in the prosecution of captured pirates.
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A French-led squadron, which includes U.S. and German ships, is currently patrolling the Somali coast. Still, three European freighters were hijacked last week in the Gulf of Aden, which connects the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea off the Horn of Africa.

The Gulf of Aden in particular has become a treacherous stretch for shipping in recent months, with more than two dozen pirate attacks reported since the beginning of 2008, according to the International Maritime Bureau.

Nine of those have been successful hijackings, the bureau said.

Cyrus Mody of the bureau told CNN last week that Somali pirates appear to take ships "purely for financial gain." In seven hijackings this year, most were resolved with a ransom payment, Mody said, adding that the pirates in Somalia typically treat the crews on the hijacked ships well.

It is difficult to tell whether a single group is responsible for the hijackings, given that there are at least four pirate groups in the country, he said.

Somalia's U.N.-backed transitional government has said it would welcome international assistance in battling piracy, which the Security Council has now declared an aggravating factor in the situation there.

Somali leaders are struggling to restore order after about 15 years of near-anarchy, and are also battling an Islamic insurgency.

Meanwhile, the international flotilla first dispatched to prevent the spread of the al Qaeda terrorist movement has taken an increasingly prominent role in battling piracy.

In April, French commandos captured six pirates who had just released the crew of a hijacked luxury yacht and were trying to escape with the ransom. The gang have been taken to France for trial.

The resolution was backed by the United States, France, Britain and Panama.


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Russian navy ready to take on Somali pirates

Post  Sirop14 on Tue Jun 03, 2008 10:22 pm

June 3rd, 2008

Russian News and Information Agency:

MOSCOW - If a decision is made, Russian naval ships are ready to head for the Somali coast where pirates recently seized a Dutch ship, an aide to the Russian Navy commander said Tuesday.

The cargo vessel the Amiya Scan, sailing under the flag of Antigua and Barbuda, was captured by Somali pirates on May 26 with four Russians and five Filipinos on board. Somali authorities sent military forces two days later to mount a rescue attempt. The pirates have threatened to kill the crew if any rescue attempt is made.

“If the country’s leadership decides to send Russian military ships to the Somali coast, the navy will of course carry out this decision,” Captain 1st Rank Igor Dygalo said, adding however that “the use of force in this case would be an extreme measure.”

Following reports that the Somali government was ready to use force to rescue the ship’s crew, Russia urged Somalia not to take any action that could put the lives of the crew in danger.

Dygalo reiterated on Tuesday that any action against the pirates should not put the lives of the captives in danger. The UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution on Monday permitting countries to enter Somali territorial waters to combat “acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea.”


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Pirate attacks hurting energy and fishing industries

Post  Sirop14 on Tue Jun 03, 2008 10:25 pm

June 3rd, 2008


Nigeria’s coastal waters are proving increasingly perilous for mariners. Some 42 attacks on ships were reported in 2007 compared with 28 in 2004, according to the International Maritime Bureau. But the attacks are increasing by the day so much so that trawlers owners have abandoned their fishing trade.

While government may be battling with rising food prices, another crisis is in the offing, that of fish which is the major source of protein for the poor. Oku eko, as they are popularly called, may be priced out of the reach of the ordinary Nigerian as pirates have taken over the nation’s coastal waters. It is not just in Nigeria but along the coasts of African continent.

Pirates operating around African countries are more likely to use weapons than in the past; a Spanish fishing vessel was attacked at the weekend using grenade launchers. It is now considered so risky that recently, France and the US announced a draft UN Security Council resolution allowing foreign governments to pursue and arrest pirates in territorial waters.

Nigeria’s oil wealth is also attracting more brigands to its seas. Ships navigating through traditional piracy hot-spots such as the Malacca Strait and the vast coastal waters of Indonesia have suffered fewer attacks since 2004 than in Nigeria.

Data made available by International Maritime Bureau show that pirates have shifted their base to Africa and Nigeria in particular. While in 2004, Indonesia had the highest pirates attack of 94, it dropped to 43 in 2007. Similarly, Malacca Strait which had 38 attacks in 2004, dropped considerably to just 7 attacks in 2007. Bangladesh which in 2004 experienced 17 attacks on its high sea, fell marginally to 15.


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Navies to tackle Somali pirates

Post  Sirop14 on Tue Jun 03, 2008 10:30 pm

French navy helicopter carrier Jeanne D'Arc passes through the Suez Canal, 1 May, 2008
The vote means nations will be able to send warships to tackle pirates

The UN Security Council has unanimously voted to allow countries to send warships into Somalia's territorial waters to tackle pirates.

The resolution permits countries that have the agreement of Somalia's interim government to use any means to repress acts of piracy for the next six months.

Twenty-six ships have been attacked by pirates in the waters in the past year.

The vote came as the UN launched separate peace talks with factions involved in Somalia's conflict.

But the Islamist opposition said face-to-face talks would not happen at the meeting in neighbouring Djibouti until the government set a timetable for the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops, who are supporting the government.

Rife piracy

Somalia's coastal waters are near shipping routes connecting the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, and the country's government is unable to police its own coastline.

Consequently, piracy is rife off Somalia's 1,800 mile-long coast, says the BBC UN correspondent Laura Trevelyan.

The resolution was drafted by France, the US and Panama.

Our correspondent says France originally wanted to expand the motion to allow piracy to be tackled in other areas, such as West Africa.

China, Vietnam and Libya said they voted for the measure because it only applies to Somalia, and does not affect the sovereignty of other countries.

But diplomats say the Security Council action is significant because it is using the force of international law to allow navies to chase pirates and armed robbers.


On Monday, Security Council envoys met representatives of the Somali government and the opposition at a luxury hotel on the shores of the Red Sea.

I am willing to do whatever it takes to promote peace and stability in Somalia
President Abdullahi Yusuf

Somalia's pirates face battles at sea

The talks, which are being held in Djibouti because Somalia is deemed too dangerous, are part of a UN plan to broker the first official direct talks between the Somali rivals.

But Abdirahman Abdishakur Warsame, deputy head of the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS) said it would not agree to face-to-face talks until a timetable was in place for the Ethiopians to leave Somali territory.

"The Ethiopian presence is the main obstacle to [the] peace process, and the main obstacle to reach a lasting solution for Somalia," he said.

The Ethiopians helped the government oust Islamists from Mogadishu in December 2006.

But President Abdullahi Yusuf says there would be a security vacuum if the Ethiopians withdrew before being replaced by UN peacekeepers.

Refugees flee Mogadishu
Aid agencies say 6,000 civilians have died in the past year in Mogadishu

"I am willing to do whatever it takes to promote peace and stability in Somalia," he said.

Somalia has not had a functioning national government since 1991.

An Islamist insurgency there has been mounting almost daily attacks on the weak government, which is backed by the United States, because Washington believes the Islamists are associated with al-Qaeda.

The UN says almost two million Somalis desperately need assistance.

A small contingent of African Union troops is in Mogadishu but has done little to quell the violence.

The talks are being boycotted by the hard-line al-Shabab militia, blamed for many of the attacks on government troops and their Ethiopian supporters.

The UN mission is due to travel to South Sudan on Tuesday.

It is also scheduled to visit the Democratic Republic of Congo, where millions of people have been displaced by fighting in the east of the country.


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