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Monday, November 24, 2008

Somali Pirates: Ship owners seek blockade

To counter the increasing problem of Somali pirates, some ship owners are proposing that a blockade be established off the Somali coast, as set out here:
A group of tanker owners has proposed a naval blockade off the coast of Somalia as a way of stopping pirate attacks.

Peter Swift, head of the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners (Intertanko), said the UN could co-ordinate naval patrols in the area.

He acknowledged that a blockade would not be easy.
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Mr Swift said many tanker owners are considering a detour around South Africa to avoid pirates, and that this would raise costs by 30%.

He said continuing attacks would have a major impact on world trade, but that Intertanko opposed arming merchant ships to defend against pirates.
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"The other option is perhaps putting a blockade around Somalia and introducing the idea of intercepting vessels leaving Somalia rather than to try to protect the whole of the Gulf of Aden," he said.

A blockade along Somalia's coastline "is not easy but some intervention there may be effective," he said.
A "ring of steel" to seal off known pirate ports might viable if there are enough ships to do the job and the governments providing those ships don't mind paying for an extended commitment off Somalia.

Without an invasion of Somalia to quell the pirates, there are not many good options to contain the pirates other than escorting ships and patrolling known danger areas.

While they are there, perhaps a blockading force could help the Somalis with the alleged problems they face with illegal fishing and dumping by foreign ships.

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