Govt to come out with a law to tackle piracy

Sea brigands still have 53 Indians in their custody.

Updated: Mar 12, 2011, 15:40 PM IST

New Delhi: With Somali pirates striking
at will in the Gulf of Eden, the government is working on a tough
law to deal with the problem of sea brigands who still have 53
Indians in their custody but ruled out negotiations with them.

Officials feel that there could be involvement of
remnants of al Qaeda and Somali group Al Shabab behind the
pirates who till today have not killed their hostages as
they only look for ransom from ship owners.

Right now it is the United Nations Convention on
the Law of Sea that defines piracy and there is a need to
adopt a domestic law on the subject, officials told the media
briefing today in which representatives of Ministries of
External Affairs and Shipping, Navy and Directorate General of
Shipping were present.

Officials said right now piracy is dealt with
under the provisions of Indian Penal Code and century-old
Amiralty law but the government would like to have a separate
law with provisions to effectively tackle the problem that
takes place far away from Indian shores.

At present countries try to invoke jurisdiction under
laws and customary international laws but the proposed
legislation would be more effective and stringent and in
harmony with international laws.

"Right now there is no definition of piracy in
Indian laws," the officials pointed out saying the legislation
will try to establish piracy as a crime and how to deal with

Against the backdrop of demand from families of
Indian sailors demanding government intervention in securing
their release from Somalian pirates, officials said nowhere in
the world government get into negotiations with sea brigands.

Such a course would raise the stakes and would amount
to falling in the hands of the pirates, who would be
encouraged further to take more hostages and to look for more