Tracking Ransom Payments

According to the Associated Press, a sharply critical report by British lawmakers has pointed out that ‘Too little is known about the fate of millions of dollars in ransom money paid out to Somali pirates and too few hostage takers are being prosecuted.’

Citing concerns that some of the estimated $135 million in payments during 2011 have found thier way into Britain’s financial system, the UK Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Select Committee has warned that not enough work is being carried out to trace the route of payments.

A series of meetings with defense officials, maritime lawyers and piracy victims also led to the panel of legislators learning that approximately 80% of suspected pirates captured off the coast of Somalia are released without trial.

The Panel’s Chairman, Richard Ottaway, stated that “It is unacceptable that 2.6 million square miles of the Indian Ocean have become a no-go area for small vessels, and a dangerous one for commercial shipping,” adding that “there is a clear need to take decisive action.”

The Financial Times has also reported on the Select Committee’s report, in an article by Political Correspondent Jim Pickard, a number of the panel’s concerns – ranging from the call for ‘clear governance’ to the ‘business opportunity’ for British companies – have been highlighted.

The full Associated Press article can be accessed here: UK lawmakers say ransom payments to Somali pirates aren’t being properly tracked

The full Financial Times article can be accessed here: Guards need ‘clear guidance’ on tackling Somali pirates

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