The UN Security Council has reiterated its calls on the international community to fight piracy and armed robbery at sea, which continue to pose a threat to the delivery of humanitarian aid to the country.
In a resolution on Monday, the Council urged member states to work in conjunction with relevant international organisations to adopt legislation to facilitate prosecution of suspected pirates, as well as to cooperate on the issue of hostage-taking.
“Pirate networks continue to rely on kidnapping and hostage-taking…the profits help generate funding to purchase weapons, gain recruits, and continue their operations activities, thereby jeopardising the safety and security of civilians and restricting the flow of free commerce,” it said.
The Council, in particular, commended Kenya, Mauritius, Seychelles and Tanzania for their efforts to prosecute suspected pirates in national courts, and called on member states to fight piracy by deploying naval arms, military aircraft and by supporting counter-piracy forces, as well as by seizing and disposing boats, arms and other equipment suspected in piracy.
The Council also decided that the arms embargo, originally imposed in 1992, “does not apply to supplies of weapons and military equipment or the provisions of assistance destined for the sole use of member states, international, regional and sub-regional organisations working
to stop the scourge”.
Turning to Somali authorities, the Council stressed the need to interdict piracy, and to investigate and bring to justice “those who are using Somali territory to plan, facilitate, or undertake criminal acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea”.
Pirates off the coast of Somalia and the Horn of Africa have made between US$339 million and US$413 million in ransom profits in the past seven years, fuelling a wide range of criminal activities on a global scale, according to ‘Pirate Trails’, a report released earlier this month by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the World Bank and INTERPOL.
Meanwhile, piracy is estimated to cost the global economy about US$18 billion a year in increased trade costs, as well as significant decline in tourist arrivals and fishing yields since 2006.