In many war zones the term “child soldier” is commonplace. Now, it seems that the term “child pirate” is likely to gain similar currency.
Indian authorities have been confounded to find that as many as 25 of the 61 pirates, apprehended after a gun-battle with naval warships in Arabian Sea on Saturday, were children under 15 of age.
“At least four of them are just 11 or so. It seems younger and younger children in Somalia are being pushed into piracy, which is proving immensely lucrative in the lawless country…the established pirates, who have got rich, are no longer sailing out on raids,” said an official.
Though there were a few youngsters among the 43 pirates nabbed in the earlier two encounters with the Navy on January 28 and February 5, this is the first time so many children below 15 have been apprehended.
With the legal systems within so many nations grappling with the absence of a specific provision dealing with piracy, the presence of “child pirates” will further complicate matters.
With so many “pirates” in custody, the Indian government is now scrambling to bring a specific anti-piracy law, which seeks to fuse the existing national provisions with United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).