Secretary-General deplores latest acts of piracy off coast of Somalia

19 November 2008

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today voiced his concern at new acts of piracy off the Somali coast this week amid reports of a series of attacks or attempting hijackings in recent days in a region already notorious for the practice.

Mr. Ban “reiterates his condemnation of all acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea, wherever they occur,” according to a statement from his spokesperson, which was issued just days after heavily armed pirates hijacked a Saudi Arabian oil tanker. The Indian navy is also reported to have sunk a suspected pirate ship.

The Secretary-General “strongly supports efforts by Member States to address this scourge,” the statement said, adding that he is working closely with Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG), the International Maritime Organization (IMO), NATO, the European Union and others to ensure that international efforts to combat piracy are better coordinated.

“He welcomes the EU’s decision to authorize the deployment of a maritime force off the coast of Somalia, and the efforts of individual Member States to send vessels, which will strengthen security in the area.”

Later this week IMO Secretary-General Efthimios Mitropoulos is expected to brief the Security Council on the latest developments in the waters of the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean off the Horn of Africa.

Naval escorts from the Netherlands and NATO are providing vital protection for UN World Food Programme (WFP) ships loaded with aid for Somalia, where millions depend on humanitarian aid because of conflict, drought and soaring food and fuel prices.


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