Funding The Fight
The UK Foreign Secretary has announced £6 million funding to improve maritime surveillance of pirates in the Indian Ocean and to increase prison capacity in Somalia and across the Indian Ocean region.
This will help to ensure that suspects are prosecuted and those found guilty of piracy are imprisoned.
The funding includes £5.3 million to United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) counter piracy programme to build regional capacity for piracy prosecutions and detentions in Somalia, Kenya and Seychelles. It will also help ensure that prison accommodation is in line with international standards and that prosecutions are in full compliance with due process and the rule of law.
£600,000 will be provided to fund enhanced optical imagery equipment for the Seychelles Coastguard to allow surveillance aircraft to take high image quality video and photograph. This will aid the capture of the pirates and provide valuable evidence in court cases. The fuel tanks of the aircraft will also be upgraded to enable them to fly longer distances.
UK Foreign Secretary, William Hague, said:
“There are currently around 820 Somali pirates either serving sentences or awaiting trial around the world. I am pleased that the UK’s new support to counter piracy efforts in the Indian Ocean will aid the location, capture and detention of pirates across the region.
“I applaud the efforts of UNODC to improve the conditions of prisons to international standards and the leading role the Government of Seychelles is playing in tackling the scourge of piracy in the Indian Ocean”.
The UK is leading international action in the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, which works to deliver a comprehensive approach to piracy.