Sunday, November 20, 2011

UN chief expresses concern at rising piracy off Somalia


BNA

November 20, 2011 Dalkayaga@gmail.com

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of the United Nations expressed concern at new acts of piracy off the coast of Somalia, urging coordinated international efforts to fight the scourge.


"The secretary-general expresses his concern at new acts of piracy off the coast of Somalia in recent days and reiterates his condemnation of all acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea wherever they occur," the spokesperson's office of the UN chief said in a statement.

Ban "strongly supports efforts by member states to address this scourge and is working closely with the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia, the IMO (International Maritime Organization), NATO, the EU, and other member states to ensure a coordinated international effort to fight piracy," the statement said.

The UN chief welcomed the decision of the European Union to authorize the deployment of a maritime force off the coast of Somalia, and the efforts of individual member states to send vessels to the waters, the statement said.

Attacks by pirates off the coast of Somalia have intensified dramatically, with five vessels reportedly hijacked in the past week, including Saudi-owned supertanker Sirius Star, the largest vessel ever seized at sea.

The hijacking of the supertanker was shocking because it highlighted the vulnerability of even very large ships and pointed to widening ambitions and capabilities among ransom-hungry pirates.

Pirates have been causing havoc in one of the world's most dangerous waters of the Somali coast, which connects Europe to Asia and the Middle East. They have taken millions of dollars in ransom, raised insurance costs and threatened humanitarian supplies.

The EU has recently agreed to deploy an air and naval force off the coast of Somalia to guard sea-lanes against piracy. The EU's naval mission, to be in place by next month, is expected to protect vulnerable vessels off the Somali coast and help ensure the delivery of aid.

Meanwhile, NATO has already sent a fleet to protect food shipments to Somalia, and the South Korean government also plans to dispatch a 4,500-ton destroyer loaded with SM-2 Block IIIA missiles and other cutting-edge weaponry, as well as Navy special forces, to the waters off Somalia.
 

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