Data Gathering

Government representatives from 30 countries and six international organizations attended the Ad Hoc Meeting on Financial Aspects of Somali Pirates held at a Seoul hotel last week and have come up with a plan focusing on freezing assets linked to maritime piracy.

There was agreement to build a global database on intelligence concerning Somali pirates and those financing their activities.

At the press briefing held after the meeting, Ambassador Moon called piracy “an organized crime” aimed at making a huge amount of cash.

“There are chief figures, those who orchestrate the piracy and investors who finance Somali pirates. If the cash flow is detected and their assets are frozen, things are going to be a lot easier because pirates are in it for the money,” he said.

“If pirates are not paid, they cannot afford to purchase weapons and naturally will be discouraged from continuing.”

Once the database system is built, the member governments will be allowed to have access to the information.

The negotiators also agreed to strengthen capacity building to track down the flow of cash earned from piracy and counter money laundering.

Under the plan, law enforcement authorities of one country will be encouraged to team up with those of other nations when investigating piracy.

The governments and experts from international organizations, including Interpol, are scheduled to meet again in September to update the action plan.

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