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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 11-20-2008, 10:20 PM Thread Starter
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Piracy: UN imposes Somali sanctions

UN imposes Somali sanctions

Piracy has become an increasing problem in
Somali waters [EPA]

The UN Security Council has voted to impose economic sanctions on Somalis who contribute to violence and instability in the troubled Horn of Africa nation.

The council unanimously adopted the British-sponsored resolution, which calls for an assets freeze and a foreign travel ban on Somalis who threaten peace talks, violate an arms embargo or interfere with aid deliveries.

"The prime goal of this is to provide a framework to stem the flow of arms into Somalia, which is causing such mayhem there," said John Sawers, the British ambassador to the UN, on Thursday.

The council is also planning to set up a committee to establish a list of people who will face sanctions.

The UN vote came as a group of Somali pirates demanded a ransom of $25m for the Saudi supertanker they hijacked last weekend, and warned of disastrous consequences if the sum was not paid within 10 days.

Pirates captured another three ships since the Sirius Star was taken, prompting an international naval force to patrol the waters around the Horn of Africa.

Somalia has lacked an effective government since the 1991 removal of Mohamed Siad Barre, the former military ruler, which sparked the ongoing conflict.

The Union of Islamic Courts movement (UIC) and its supporters control much of the south of the country.

Feuding, heavily-armed clan-based militias control many areas and a weak, Western-backed interim government has little authority outside the capital, Mogadishu.

Piracy problem

The lawlessness has also spread onto the seas surrounding Somalia, with pirates carrying out an increasing number of attacks on ships that pass through the area.

Several envoys called for renewal of a June council resolution authorising states to enter Somali waters to combat pirates when it falls due next month, but many said the piracy problem stemmed from the general chaos on land.

"This piracy will never be settled until we address the situation in Somalia," said Dumisani Kumalo, the South African envoy.

The council's action comes as the African Union urged the UN on Thursday to quickly send peacekeepers to Somalia.

Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, has proposed that the current 3,450-strong African Union force there be replaced by an international stabilisation force with two multinational brigades, one of which could incorporate the AU troops.

Source: Agencies
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 11-20-2008, 10:23 PM
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About time.

Where is Commodore Perry when you need him?
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 11-20-2008, 10:24 PM Thread Starter
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Turning the heat on the pirates

News Africa

Turning the heat on the pirates

By Claudia Theophilus

Heavily-armed Somali pirates face relatively low risks with high returns [EPA]

The low risks for pirates and a lack of political will to tackle the problem are fuelling the increasingly frequent and violent attacks facing shipping in the waters off the Somali coastline, a global shipping watchdog has said.

The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has warned that the surge in piracy in the Gulf of Aden - already a situation that is "out of control" - could escalate yet further as more would-be pirates see the viability and profit to be made from the recent spate of attacks.

The IMB's worldwide piracy reporting centre, based in Malaysia, has seen a spike in hjiackings off eastern Africa in recent weeks, with at least one vessel seized every few days compared to one or two a month previously.

Noel Choong, head of the Kuala Lumpur-based centre, said it was alarming that despite increased patrols by an international naval force it had documented eight ships seized in the Gulf of Aden in the last two weeks alone.

"It is not a good sign because we're now at the stage where the situation is already out of control," he told Al Jazeera.

'No deterrent'

"It may make a difference in due course if some examples are made to these people of what the consequences will be if they continue with this reprehensible behaviour"

Matthew Oakley,
security consultant

Choong said piracy in the region could not be tackled without strong international political will do so and to address the domestic conflicts in eastern Africa which were helping to fuel the problem.

"I expect the pirates will increase in numbers because there is no strong deterrent, and they face a low risk with high returns," he said.

Currently, he said, at least 17 ships and some 250 crewmembers are being held hostage by Somali pirates demanding millions of dollars in ransom payments.

Choong said the attacks in the Gulf of Aden were also occurring 800-900 kilometres out at sea, a factor he said showed the pirates were becoming increasingly confident.

Pirates continue attacks despite increased security patrol in the region [EPA]
"At that range, ships are on their own with no readily available help," he said.

Citing the recent spate of hijackings, including the unprecedented seizure a Saudi-owned supertanker, the Sirius Star, Choong said "the UN and the international community must find ways to stop this menace".

"The situation in the Gulf of Aden is very different than in the Straits of Malacca where the governments of Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore – known as the littoral states in the sea piracy business – have set aside large resources to solve the problem," he said.

The straits, like the Gulf of Aden, are a strategic chokepoint on major international shipping lanes.

In 2005 maritime insurer Llloyd's of London labelled the Straits of Malacca the world's top piracy hotspot.

But in the space of just three yearsa a programme of concerted action by regional governments has seen attacks there plummet.

Increased security

Fuelled by local conflicts, piracy levels off Somalia are soaring [EPA]
Now the Sirius Star incident appears to be drawing much-needed attention to the deteriorating security situation in the waters off Somalia.

This week South Korea said it was considering a deployment from its own navy to join US, French, Russian and Indian warships already operating off the coast of east Africa.

The US has also raised with other UN Security Council members its concerns about potential "terrorist groups" keeping a watch on the piracy issue.

On Wednesday the US defence department said the surge in piracy in the Gulf of Aden was "a real concern" that is being "dealt with at the highest levels".

A day earlier international naval forces patrolling the area scored a rare success when the Indian Navy said it had attacked and sunk a suspected mother ship from which the pirates had been launching raids.

But as yet the attacks show little sign of slowing.

On the same day a Thai-operated fishing boat registered in Kiribati was seized off the coast of Yemen in the Gulf of Aden while sailing to the Middle East.

Within a few hours the Delight, a Hong Kong-registered cargo vessel operating out of Iran, was hijacked in the same area with 25 crew members on board.


Matthew Oakley, a Singapore-based maritime security consultant, said part of the responsibility lies with shipping companies, who needed to be made more aware of the risks and responsibilities, as well as the "non-lethal countermeasures" that could deter future hijackings.

But speaking to Al Jazeera he said the situation in the Gulf of Aden had reached crisis proportions and that more assertive action may be needed to restore security.

"There is no doubt that there has been a significant increase [in attacks] because the pirates have become even more emboldened … waiting to see whether there is any military response."

"I'm not advocating that you blow people out of the water unless you can be as sure as possible that they are indeed bad guys. But I think it may make a difference in due course if some examples are made to these people of what the consequences will be if they continue with this reprehensible behaviour."

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 11-20-2008, 11:58 PM Thread Starter
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Little mention is made that since Marxist President Siad Barre's Militay Government was ousted in 1991, Somalia has been unable to protect its coastal waters.


• Somalia has said that piracy was merely a symptom of a wider problem, illegal fishing and dumping. The collapse of the Somali government in 1991 heralded the opening of fishing floodgates and foreign fishing vessels from all corners of the world invaded the area with the sole aim of plundering Somalia's marine resources.

• Militia were boarding boats on initially justifiable grounds to protect their waters from illegal entry by ships from countries including Korea, Italy, Spain and Thailand.

• Hundreds of illegal fishing boats were in Somali waters at any one time engaged in a $90 million a year business, mainly in tuna, the Kenya-based Seafarers Assistance Programme (SAP), reported in 2006. Toxic and industrial waste was also being dumped there, while there was a roaring trade in illegal charcoal.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 11-21-2008, 06:13 AM
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