dinsdag 24 april 2012

EU Plans to Boost East Africa’s Capacity to Deal With Pirates

By David Malingha Doya

The European Union will begin a program to help East African nations improve maritime security as pirate attacks in the region decline, EU Ambassador to Tanzania Filiberto Ceriani Sebregondi said.

The so-called Regional Maritime Capacity Building program will cover Somalia, Kenya Tanzania, Djibouti, Seychelles and Mauritius, Sebregondi said in an interview yesterday in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s commercial capital. “The program starts in a couple of weeks or months, and will last for one to two years, with a possibility of extending it,” he said.

Hr.Ms. van Amstel (foto Defensie)
The EU also plans to spend 16 million euros ($21 million) extending its anti-piracy program off the coast of Somalia over the next two years to secure United Nations food shipments to the war-torn country, he said. Sebregondi spoke on board the HNLMS Van Amstel, a multi-purpose military vehicle that has been docked at Dar es Salaam since April 21.

Global pirate attacks fell 28 percent to 102 incidents in the first quarter as naval interventions reduced incidents off the coast of Somalia, the International Maritime Bureau said yesterday. Attacks near Somalia declined to 43 from 97 and the number of vessels that were hijacked also dropped.

In Somalia, the capacity-building program will focus on enabling the police and the judiciary to start handling the piracy problem domestically, Sebregondi said.

The bloc also plans to sign a pirate-transfer agreement with Tanzania “soon” to allow the EU to hand over suspected pirates captured at sea to Tanzanian authorities, Sebregondi said.

(Click here for continuation of the article of Business Week/Bloomberg, 24 April 2012)

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