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Help Needed in Fight Against Somali Pirates

Security Council Calls for Greater Help in Fight Against Somali Pirates

2 December 2008 – The Security Council today called on all countries and regional organizations with the necessary capacity to deploy naval ships and military aircraft off the Somali coast to fight rampant piracy that is impeding United Nations efforts to feed millions of hungry civilians in the strife-torn country.

In a unanimously adopted resolution, the Council asked Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to report within three months on ways to ensure long-term security off the coast of Somalia, notably for UN World Food Programme (WFP) deliveries, and on a possible coordination and leadership role for the UN in rallying Member States and regional organizations for such a goal.

Acting under Chapter VII of the UN Charter authorizing the use of force, the 15-member body called for the “seizure and disposition of boats, vessels, arms and other related equipment” used or suspected of being used for piracy, which has recently reached a peak off the coast of the Horn of Africa country with the hijacking of a Ukrainian arms ship and a Saudi oil tanker.

The Council said it continued “to be gravely concerned by the threat that piracy and armed robbery at sea against vessels pose to the prompt, safe and effective delivery of humanitarian aid to Somalia, to international navigation and the safety of commercial maritime routes, and to other vulnerable ships, including fishing activities in conformity with international law.”

It welcomed steps by Canada, Denmark, France, India, the Netherlands, Russia, Spain, the United Kingdom, the United States, and regional and international organizations to counter piracy, specifically citing North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) escorts for WFP vessels and the European Union decision to launch a 12-month naval operation.

Taking note of the crisis situation in Somalia, which has been riven by factional fighting and has not had a functioning central government since 1991, and the lack of capacity of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) to interdict pirates as well as TFG requests for international aid, the resolution authorizes cooperating States and organizations to enter Somali territorial waters to repress piracy.

It also calls on countries, in cooperation with the shipping industry, the insurance industry and the UN International Maritime Organization (IMO), to issue ships entitled to fly their flag appropriate advice on avoidance, evasion, and defensive techniques to take if under attack or threat of attack when sailing in waters off the Somali coast.


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