The United Nations Security Council is scheduled to discuss possible
authorization of states to act against pirates off the Somali coasts, where
piracy acts have increased against passenger ships and tankers, the United States said Monday.
A draft resolution written by Britain, the United States, Panama and France was submitted to the 15-nation council, which would authorize states to cooperate with Somalia's provisional government for an initial six months to fight acts of piracy.
Under the proposal, such states could use their naval vessels and aircraft to enter Somalia's territorial waters "for the purposes of identifying and pursuing pirates and armed robberies and of deterring, preventing and suppressing acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea, in a manner consistent with such action permitted on the high seas with respect to piracy under relevant international law."
The draft would allow states cooperating with Somalia to use "all necessary means" to identify, deter, prevent and repress acts of piracy.
It would allow relevant states to cooperate and determine ways to ensure the detention, investigation and prosecution of persons responsible for acts of piracy.
US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad told reporters that the draft would be discussed by the council in coming days because piracy has become "more frequent and more brazen."
"It is time for the Security Council to respond to the situation," Khalilzad said, adding that while the focus currently is on the Somali coasts, the anti-piracy measures could be applied to other areas in the world where piracy acts have been reported.
Security Council members have become aware that Somalia's provisional government cannot deal with pirates off its shores. The Somali government has also welcomed international assistance to fight pirates who have stolen ships carrying food supplies for the country.
Incidents over the past years included the seizure of the Panamanian-flagged vessel Fiesta Gas in April, 2005, and the hijacking earlier this month of the French luxury passenger ship and detained its passengers.
Last week, pirates seized the Spanish fishing vessel Playa de Bakia and attempted to seize the Japanese oil tanker Takayama. Pirates apparently have demanded a ransom of 1 million euros for the release of the crew of the Spanish fishing boat, but Madrid denied the ransom demand.