Speaking at the British Chamber of Shipping, Foreign Office Minister Henry Bellingham today outlined the UK’s ongoing commitment to tackle piracy off the coast of East Africa.
Minister for Africa, Henry Bellingham said:
“This government is 100% behind a more robust response to piracy. I am pleased to announce that a UK-funded maritime intelligence and information coordination center will be set up in Seychelles. The FCO and Serious Organized Crime Agency are carrying out urgent work with the government of the Seychelles to take this forward.
“The new intelligence center will coordinate the tracking of financial flows and enforcement operations and will help collate the evidence needed to issue international arrest warrants and prosecute pirates.
“Pirate financiers are the kingpins of piracy, and targeting them effectively will have a huge impact on the ability of pirates to terrorize the high seas.”
In addition, Mr. Bellingham announced UK support for several of the UN’s projects to tackle piracy. This includes work in Somalia designed to prevent people from turning to piracy in the first place.
Mr. Bellingham continued:
“We have always been clear that the problem of piracy cannot be solved at sea when the causes of piracy lie on land. We must also help Somalia and its regions to develop their own capabilities to deter and detain pirates. I am pleased to announce that the UK will support work to ensure that this becomes a reality.”
Full details of the new funding commitments are:
– £2.25 million to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime
This will fund UNODC work in the prosecution and imprisonment of pirates in Kenya, Mauritius, the Seychelles, and Tanzania, as well as in Somalia, primarily through the building of prisons and courts and training the people who will work in them.
– £2 million to UNODC and UNDP
This will be used to support community engagement and economic development programs, for example ex-pirates, politicians, and community leaders working with communities to make them aware of the dangers of piracy and the real alternatives. It will also support the provision of alternative livelihoods for those susceptible to being recruited by pirates.
– £200,000 to UNDP
This will fund a needs assessment in Puntland and Galmudug – the areas most affected by piracy. The assessment will identify what maritime security and maritime police/coastguard facilities are needed.
– £120,000 to UN Political Office for Somalia
This will be used to set up anti-piracy offices and teams in the Somali regions. These offices will work on all aspects of piracy and maritime security, supporting the implementation of the roadmap on maritime security agreed by the Somali Government in September.