UN council calls for criminalization of piracy

AP News
Posted: Oct 24, 2011 11:50 AM
UN council calls for criminalization of piracy

All U.N. member states should make piracy a crime as the problem surges in Somalia, the Security Council said Monday.

Council members unanimously agreed to ask all U.N. member states to issue reports before the end of the year on measures they have taken to criminalize piracy, and to support prosecution of people suspected of piracy off the coast of the eastern African country.

The Malaysia-based International Maritime Bureau's Piracy Reporting Center reported last week that sea piracy worldwide has surged in the first nine months of this year, with Somali pirates intensifying their attacks despite more patrolling of nearby waters.

According to the global maritime watchdog, there have been a record 352 attacks worldwide in the first three quarters of this year, up 22 percent from a year ago. Pirates took 625 hostages, killed eight people and injured 41 in the nine-month period.

Somali pirates accounted for 199 attacks of those attacks, a 58 percent increase from last year, as they expanded farther into the Red Sea.

But the Somalis were able to hijack only 24 vessels, down from 35 in the same period last year, because of increased international naval policing and onboard security measures.

The Security Council will continue to examine ways to establish courts and prisons in Somalia and nearby countries with international participation and support.

Somalia remains unstable, making policing of piracy within the country difficult.

The al-Qaida-linked Somali insurgent group al-Shabab is fighting on two fronts there, against the U.N.-backed government and its African Union supporters in Mogadishu, and against Kenyan troops in the south.