UNSC to vote on anti-piracy resolution

India has been a major victim of the menace as 53 of its nationals are still in the captivity of pirates, seized during a number of attacks on merchant ships over the last two years.

Last Updated: Apr 10, 2011, 16:15 PM IST

New Delhi: India`s persistent efforts to provide teeth to global fight against piracy are expected to bear result on Monday when the UN Security Council votes on a resolution to provide a legal framework under which sea brigands would be tried in Seychelles.

The resolution, once adopted, would make it incumbent on UN member countries to extend full cooperation in the fight against piracy by framing laws and taking responsibility for securing release of hostages captured by pirates from any ship
registered in any particular country.

Moved in the backdrop of rising incidents of hijacking by Somali pirates in high seas, the resolution will also make it obligatory for all countries to share information regarding piracy activities and target the financiers of such actions, sources told a news agency.

India has been a major victim of the menace as 53 of its nationals are still in the captivity of pirates, seized during a number of attacks on merchant ships over the last two years.

"The resolution will ensure that major lacunae in the global fight against piracy are addressed," the sources said.

A key highlight of the resolution is that arrested pirates can be tried in dedicated courts in Seychelles, the closest point to the areas affected by piracy, the sources said. This can involve participation by foreign personnel.

After their conviction, pirates would be transferred to Somalia, where additional prisons are envisaged to be set up in Puntland and Somaliland to house them, they said.

The resolution makes it incumbent upon the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia to adopt elaborate counter-piracy laws.

Initiated by Russia, the resolution has been pushed vigorously by India, which has been persuading other permanent members of the Security Council like the US, France and UK to support it.

The resolution emphasises the need for ensuring "effective coordination" of anti-piracy efforts.

It also provides for investigation and prosecution of those illicitly financing, planning, organising or unlawfully profiting from pirate attacks.

In this connection, international investigating agencies like Interpol could be involved to work with Somalia and any other country.

In the event of an hijacking incident, the government of the country, whose ship is involved, will be required to take responsibility for securing the release of the hostages, even if it involves use of force.

This assumes significance because in every case of hijacking the efforts to secure release of hostages is left to the shipping company.

PTI