UN adopts new Somalia piracy resolution : Urges states to deploy military ships, planes


Agence France-Presse
First Posted 22:41:00 10/07/2008

UNITED NATIONS — The UN Security Council on Tuesday unanimously adopted a resolution urging states to deploy naval vessels and military aircraft to actively join the fight against rampant piracy off the coast of lawless Somalia.

Resolution 1838 “calls upon all states interested in the security of maritime activities to take part actively in the fight against piracy on the high seas off the coast of Somalia, in particular by deploying naval vessels and military aircraft.”

The French-drafted text urges states with naval vessels and military aircraft operating on the high seas and airspace off the Somali coast “to use the necessary means, in conformity with international law…for the repression of acts of piracy.”

It again “condemns and deplores all acts acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea against vessels off the coast of Somalia.”

It said that “the provisions in this resolution apply only with respect to the situation in Somalia and shall not affect the rights or obligations or responsibilities of member states under international law.”

Last June, the 15-member Council had already adopted a resolution empowering states to send warships into Somalia’s territorial waters with the government’s consent to combat piracy and armed robbery at sea.

The June resolution had given a six-month mandate to states cooperating with Somalia’s transitional government (TFG) in fighting piracy to “enter the territorial waters of Somalia for the purposes of repressing acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea.”

The waters off Somalia — which has not had an effective central government for more than 17 years and is plagued by insecurity — are considered to be among the most dangerous in the world.

Dozens of ships, mainly merchant vessels, have been seized by pirates off Somalia’s 3,700 kilometers (2,300 miles) of largely unpatroled coastline.

The pirates operate high-powered speedboats and are heavily armed, sometimes holding ships for weeks until they are released for large ransoms paid by governments or owners.

Tuesday, pirates holding a Ukrainian ship carrying tanks and military hardware with 21-member crew off the coast of Somalia said that a deal could be reached soon for the vessel’s release.

“A deal might be sealed by Wednesday and then we will issue a statement regarding the end of the matter,” said Sugule Ali, a spokesman for the estimated 50 pirates holding the MV Faina since September 25.

The pirate would not comment on the amount of ransom being negotiated. (PDI)

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