United Nations: The UN Security Council has called on the international community to intensify efforts to combat piracy off the coast of Somalia, unanimously authorising states to continue deploying military ships and aircraft to fight the menace in Indian Ocean waters.
Adopting a new resolution, the 15-nation Council stressed the need for UN Member States to engage in a “comprehensive response to repress piracy” and tackle its underlying causes, while also calling on the global community to “take part in the fight against piracy and armed robbery” by providing a consistent military presence to the region.
The Council expressed grave concern over piracy off the coast of Somalia despite a sharp decline in attacks and through the resolution renewed for another year authorisations, first agreed in 2008, for international action to fight the crime near Somali waters in cooperation with government authorities.
“While noting that the joint counter-piracy efforts of States, regions, organizations, the maritime industry…have resulted in a sharp decline in pirate attacks as well as hijackings since 2011,” the Council said it continued “to be gravely concerned by the on-going threat that piracy and armed robbery at sea pose to the prompt, safe, and effective delivery of humanitarian aid to Somalia and the region, to the safety of seafarers and other persons, to international navigation and the safety of commercial maritime routes, and to other ships.”
It also expressed concern by the extended range of the piracy threat into the western Indian Ocean and adjacent sea areas and increased pirate capacities.
It welcomed the efforts of countries, including China, India, Iran, Japan, South Korea and Russia, which have deployed naval counter-piracy missions in the region.
The Council renewed its call upon states and regional organizations to take part in the fight against piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia, by deploying military assets and providing basing and logistical support for counter-piracy forces and by seizing and disposing off boats, vessels, arms, and other related equipment used for piracy and armed robbery at sea.
It also called upon member states to cooperate on the issue of hostage taking and the prosecution of suspected pirates for taking hostages.
Piracy “exacerbates instability by introducing large amounts of illicit cash that fuels additional crime and corruption in Somalia,” the 15-member body said as it urged all states to take “appropriate actions” to prevent the illicit financing of piracy and laundering of its proceeds.
The total cost to the global economy caused by piracy is estimated at about USD 18 billion a year in increased trade costs, as well as a significant decline in tourist arrivals and fishing yields since 2006.
In addition, pirates off the coast of Somalia and the Horn of Africa have made between USD 339 million and USD 413 million in ransom profits over the past seven years, according to a 2013 analysis published by the UNODC, World Bank and Interpol.