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International community targets pirate kingpins

Foreign Secretary William Hague announced that the UK is to provide the Director and fund the construction of the new Regional Anti-Piracy Prosecutions Intelligence Co-ordination Centre (RAPPICC) based in the Seychelles.

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The RAPPICC will coordinate and analyse intelligence to inform tactical law enforcement options, including the turning of intelligence into useable evidence for prosecutions both in the region and further afield.

Additional action by the International Maritime Organisation and the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia will ensure that shipping travelling through the Gulf of Aden has access to the best and most up to date advice on how to help tackle the scourge of piracy off the coast of Somalia.

These new measures come two days ahead of the London Conference on Somalia, which is bringing together over 50 countries and international organisations to agree a series of practical measures to support Somalia including further measures to tackle piracy and its root causes.

Piracy is a symptom as well as a cause of Somalia’s lack of stability and it is essential that we continue to build on the success so far in combating it. We know that the problems of piracy cannot be solved by action at sea alone. And whilst the root causes of piracy lie on land so does the solution.

Foreign Secretary, William Hague, said:

“Following intensive consultation with key international partners, I am delighted to announce a co-ordinated set of initiatives to disrupt pirate activity, and provide seafarers and the industry with improved tools to avoid and counter pirate attacks.

“The establishment of a new intelligence co-ordination centre will allow the international community to target the king-pins of piracy and ensure piracy does not pay. For too long, the international community has focused its efforts on the young desperate men who are sent out to sea, without seeking to hold to account those who finance and enable huge pirate operations. The new Regional Anti-Piracy Prosecutions Intelligence Co-ordination Centre (RAPPICC), based in the Seychelles, will ensure that is no longer the case. I am pleased that the UK is able to provide the first Director and £550,000 to fund the construction of the RAPPICC, which will be operational in time for the seasonal increase in pirate activity. The Seychelles and Dutch governments, as well as INTERPOL, have made commitments to support this centre, and I hope that others will follow their lead.

“The UK will also provide £150,000 to support for the UN Political Office for Somalia in creating a pilot maritime security coordination office in a stable region within Somalia. The office will help to ensure greater coordination of counter-piracy activity on the ground to maximise the impact of the international community’s efforts.

“We are also working to ensure that shipping travelling through the Gulf of Aden has the best information and advice to avoid and counter piracy. I welcome the decisions of the IMO to provide guidance on the use of armed guards to Flag States and Ship owners, and to enhance the information on high risk areas available via their website, to ensure that seafarers and industry have greater access to such information.”

The UK will continue to work closely with countries across the East African and Indian Ocean region and around the world to ensure that our efforts to tackle piracy are comprehensive and coordinated. We particularly want to see an end to pirates being captured and then released because there is nowhere to prosecute and imprison them. We hope that Conference participants will agree a commitment to do more to increase judicial capacity in Somalia and the wider region.

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Published 21 February 2012