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Wednesday, 30 January 2013

EU : strategy against maritime piracy

In her key-note speech at the event organised by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) for the presentation of its opinion "Maritime piracy: strengthening the EU response" on Thursday 24 January, Commissioner Damanaki Commissioner Damanaki indicated that the European Commission was currently drafting a new "EU security strategy for the global maritime domain".
The EU, which controls 40% of world shipping, cannot afford any escalation of piracy, said the EESC. "If the wave of piracy goes unchecked, the whole supply chain of goods and energy risks being disrupted," said Stéphane Buffetaut, president of the EESC Section for Transport, Energy, Infrastructure and Information Society.
The strategy’s first step would be to generate "real-time situational awareness of all activities at sea". By interlinking civilian and military communities, it would result in better cross-border information sharing, which in turn would facilitate decision-making and improve maritime governance.
Secondly, while backing the UN decision to extend the mandate of the European Union Naval Force Somalia (EU-NAVFOR-ATALANTA) until 2014, the EESC said its geographical scope must be broadened to include West Africa as well. "The current naval presence in the Indian Ocean can be likened to patrolling an area the size of Europe with 20 police cars," said Dr Bredima.         
Also, military measures should go hand in hand with decisive action aimed at disrupting the pirates' financial networks. The first step should be better tracking of financial flows and the setting up of an EU blacklist of institutions involved in laundering money from piracy. Some of the ransom money that may have been deposited in EU banks must be traced and confiscated, said the EESC.  
Thirdly, member States could make use of qualified private armed guards on board vulnerable ships, with the proviso that the use of private forces be subjected to stringent EU and international conditions.
Finally, legislation in EU countries must be amended to re-criminalise piracy and create a consistent legal framework for prosecuting pirates.


Source: EESC