Best way to end piracy is stop paying ransom: Somali diplomat

28 November 2011

AHMEDABAD – Somalia believes that payment of huge ransom to pirates made them greedier for bigger gains, and wants this practice to stop.

Somalia’s ambassador to India Ebyan Mahamed Salah told an international conference in Gandhinagar near here on Saturday that “the simplest and the least costly way to stop sea piracy is to stop paying ransoms”.

Speaking at the ‘Global Maritime Security and Anti-Piracy Conference-2011’, she said the Somalis caught along the Gujarat coast recently were not pirates but likely fishermen who had lost their way, adding that the fact that the detained men did not possess any weapon and pleaded they were innocent.

Two batches of African nationals were caught near Junagadh and Dwarka along the Gujarat coast on June 20 and 27. Of these 32 are Somalis and suspected to be pirates.

Salah said that her government was having a dialogue with the Indian government for release of the 110-odd Somalis languishing in jails, all of them caught by the Indian Navy.

“We don’t want our nationals to be a burden on any other country. We would prefer to take them back to Somalia,” she said.

She also informed the delegates from around 35 countries and global organisations that Somalia would soon have a legislative framework in place to help tackle the menace caused by the pirates who had extorted $238 million in 44 attacks in 2010 in the Gulf of Aden, the Gulf of Guinea, Southeast Asia, South and Central America and the Caribbean.

Salah also said that the Somali government would organise an anti-piracy conference in Dubai soon.

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi who inaugurated the conference said that his government had set up a radar-based vessel traffic management system on the major sea routes, 12 modern coastal police stations, 31 high-mechanised boats and 600 maritime commandos and a Gujarat Maritime Police Academy was on the anvil.

mahesh@khaleejtimes.com

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