US Reveals Strategies to Combat Piracy Off The Horn of Africa

Recognizing the piracy of the coast of Somali as an issue of critical importance to the United States, Deputy Assistant Thomas P. Kelly for Bureau of Political-Military Affairs today revealed the US strategies to counter piracy in the Region.

In his remarks at UAE-Sponsored Conference in Dubai, Mr. Kellysays the United States supports a multilateral approach that views piracy as a shared challenge.

“Piracy is most effectively addressed through broad, coordinated, and comprehensive international efforts.” -Mr. Kelly

A suspected pirate skiff in the Gulf of Aden burns after being destroyed by the amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48).

The United States considers the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia essential in enabling interaction between states and regional and international organizations on piracy.

He cites that within the Contact Group framework, the United States encourages the private sector to contribute to the Trust Fund to Support Initiatives of States Countering Piracy off the Coast of Somalia.

He stresses that companies can help by providing money or expertise to a general fund or to designated projects.

“Building a private-public partnership through the Trust Fund is an excellent way for industry to help defray the expenses associated with prosecution of suspected pirates.” -Mr. Kelly

When it comes to vessel security, the U.S. government requires U.S.-flagged vessels sailing in designated high-risk waters to take additional security measures, Mr. Kelly cited.

The US government supports the maritime industry’s use of Privately Contracted Armed Security Personnel, known by the acronym PCASP.

In addition, the U.S. government is also acutely aware of the dilemma that ship-owners face when ships and sailors are taken hostage.

He pointed out that while the safety of the crew is critical, states must all acknowledge that submitting to ransom demands only increases the likelihood that future crews will be taken hostage.

The United States has a long tradition of opposing ransom payments, and we work diligently to discourage or minimize them, he noted.

He says wvery ransom paid further institutionalizes hostage-taking for profit and promotes its expansion as a criminal enterprise.

“We strongly encourage flag States, ship-owners, and private parties involved in hostage situations to seek assistance from their appropriate government crisis management specialists.” -Mr. Kelly

Another important element of the United States’ counter-piracy approach involves enhancing the capacity of states to prosecute and incarcerate suspected pirates, and to provide for economic alternatives to piracy, Mr. Kelly stated.

He notes that expanding the capacity to prosecute and incarcerate pirates is a challenge that the international community, including the governments of flag states and ship-owners, will have to address.

Mr. Kelly adds that at the heart of the U.S. counter-piracy strategy to counter-piracy is identifying and apprehending the criminal conspirators who lead, manage, and finance the pirate enterprise.

“To that end, we are connecting law enforcement communities, intelligence agencies, financial experts, and our international partners.” -Mr. Kelly

He stresses thate there is not just one single thing states can do, or just one policy states can implement, that will end piracy.

“Reducing and mitigating the threat posed by piracy will require long, hard work.” -Mr. Kelly

He adds that as pirates continue to adapt and evolve, countries need to stay vigilant and continue their efforts. He also notes that the security of the region and the global economy depend on it.

The US has outlined the following actions which are already underway to combat piracy in the region.

  • The United States has, from the beginning, adopted a multilateral approach.
  • In January 2009, U.S. helped establish the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, which now includes over 60 nations as well as international and industry organizations, to help coordinate national and international counter-piracy policies and actions.
  • Integrated multi-dimensional approach toward combating piracy that focuses on: security – through the projection of military power to defend commercial and private vessels; prevention – through best practices measures conducted by the private sector; and deterrence – through effective legal prosecution and incarceration.
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    Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn't preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.