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New pirate prison in Somalia aims to relieve international overload

Located in Hargeisa the capital of Somaliland Somali pirates captured on the high seas and prosecuted in other countries are now being transferred to a new prison in Somalia. It's a significant change for countries combating piracy but are seeing their own jail systems overwhelmed as the U.S. and other countries continue to catch and turn over pirates to countries willing to prosecute them.The prison, located in Hargeisa the capital of Somaliland, accepted its first detainees at the end of March, according to U.S. State Department officials. The United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime is paying for the transport and the prison facility, according to U.S. State Department officials.The first prisoners were transferred from the tiny island nation of Seychelles, located off the east coast of Africa, where small facilities have been quickly overcrowded. The new prison is in Hargeisa, the capital of the self-governed breakaway republic of Somaliland. The region declared its independence in 1991 and has remained relatively violence-free and self-sustaining, unlike the southern part of the country. Somaliland's government will run the facility.Seychelles, Kenya and Mauritius have offered to prosecute and hold pirate prisoners, but the capacity to keep up with the flood of new arrivals ...

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Development of Regional Cooperation in the Fight Against Piracy in Djibouti

EU NAVFOR Force Commander The EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) French flag ship FS Marne visited Djibouti between Saturday 21 April and Friday 27 April. Whilst there the Task Force Commander, Rear Admiral Jean-Baptiste Dupuis and his staff met with representatives and authorities of the maritime world and various stakeholders in the fight against piracy.Located at the entrance to the Gulf of Aden and near the coast of Somalia, Djibouti is an important, strategic port in the fight against piracy. Its waters are a choke point for many merchant ships, and a regular harbor for warships sailing down the Red Sea and heading towards the Indian Ocean to fight against piracy. Djibouti is in particular a major logistical fulcrum for Operation Atalanta.In the presence of H.E. Mr Nicola Delcroix - Head of the EU delegation, and H.E. Mr Rene Forceville - Ambassador of France in Djibouti, on 23 April Rear Admiral Dupuis welcomed on board representatives of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, defense and transport, Djiboutian port authorities, non-governmental organizations such as the World Food Programme, together with the ambassadors of countries participating in the fight against piracy. EU NAVFOR Force Commander also met Vice Admiral Franken, U.S. joint commander ...

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Face to face with a Somali pirate

Testimony from one Somali pirate serving six years in prison Very few of the Somali-based pirates who plague the Indian Ocean have been brought to justice, partly as a result of the lack of government in Somalia. But several are being held at Hargeisa prison in Somaliland - an internationally unrecognised state which broke away from Somalia in 1991.One Somali pirate serving six years in prison told the BBC's Simon Reeve that he thought the piracy was justified even though it has become a multi-million dollar criminal industry and there have been cases of hostages and ship's crew being killed.Click here to watch BBC videoSource: BBC

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Yemen captures 14 Somali pirates in Gulf of Aden

Coast Guard have transferred them to security authorities for investigation Yemen's Costal Guard forces on Sunday captured 14 Somali pirates off the country's island of Socotra in the Gulf of Aden, the defense ministry said."The Yemeni Coastal Guard forces captured 14 Somali pirates off Socotra Island early on Sunday and have transferred them to security authorities for investigation," the ministry said in a brief statement on its website.On April 19, the Yemeni interior ministry said that a Spanish warship helped release nine Yemeni fishermen who were captured by Somali pirates in the Arabian Sea.In November, 2011, a Yemeni criminal court sentenced 10 Somalis to 10 years in prison after convicting them of piracy in Yemen's territorial waters, according to the state-run Saba news agency.The Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Aden, well-known pirate- infested waters between Yemen and Somalia, is the main route for about 25,000 ships every year.Source :Xinhua

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U.S. to seek death penalty in Somali yacht hijacking

Death penalty against three Somalis charged with murder in the fatal shooting Federal prosecutors say they will seek the death penalty against three Somalis charged with murder in the fatal shooting of four Americans aboard a hijacked yacht last year, according to a court document unsealed Tuesday.Ahmed Muse Salad, Abukar Osman Beyle and Shani Nurani Shiekh Abrar could also face the death penalty on numerous other charges related to the February, 2011 hijacking. They include hostage taking resulting in death, violence against maritime navigation resulting in death and kidnapping resulting in death. In total, 22 of the 26 counts are death-eligible offenses.The decision to seek the death penalty is made by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Prosecutors were required to tell the court if they planned to seek the death penalty before the Somalis' trial started. A status hearing to set a trial date is scheduled for May 22. Each of the men have pleaded not guilty.The court filing outlines the reasons behind the decision to seek the death penalty. Among them, prosecutors say the men killed or attempted to kill more than one person during a single episode. It also says their actions endangered the U.S. military and that ...

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Gulf shipping routes are critical to world security

Maritime Security Conference Gulf shipping routes are critical to world security, according to a strategic military and security advisor taking part in the Maritime Security and Surveillance conference.Rear Admiral Christopher Parry says security in Gulf waters is crucial to ensuring the free flow of oil, gas and other commodities to sustain world economic growth.From Abu Dhabi, Kimberley Leonard reports

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SA hostage saga continues in Somalia

"Save Bruno and Debbie" sms campaign The family of a South African couple abducted by Somali pirates over a year and a half ago has finally received fresh proof of life.Bruno Pelizzari and Debbie Calitz were taken hostage off the Gulf of Aden in October 2010.Their abductors are demanding millions of rands to have them released.Pelizzari's sister Vera Hecht said the pirates finally made contact with the family this week."We received proof of life. I submitted questions which they answered."She said negotiations were incredibly difficult because the ransom amount kept changing."It's like playing poker - you just don't show your opponent your hand."She admitted it was difficult to remain positive, though."We know that they're there and we know they're alive. We don't have the kind of money that they're asking for."In March, the family took over negotiations from local aid organisation, Gift of the Givers."The price keeps going up and down and it's very frustrating dealing with these people," said Hecht.The family are even trying to raise money from the public with the "Save Bruno and Debbie" sms campaign.Source: SaveOurSeafarers

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Has scourge of Somali piracy passed?

Piracy threats pose major challenges to the global shipping industry There has been a significant drop in ship seizures and hijackings by Somali pirates in the troubled waters off East Africa. Despite last year's spike in piracy with 28 vessels captured in the first half of 2011, there were only three ships seized in the second half of the year, according to the Commander of the European Union's anti-piracy task force. So far this year only four merchant ships have been seized by the latter-day buccaneers.But has the scourge of Somali piracy passed? In a briefing at the European Union's U.N. delegation, Rear Admiral Duncan Potts of Britain's Royal Navy stressed while the activity level is down, the progress that we made is very definitely reversible.After a record year for ransom demands last year, where they got almost $150 million in ransom demands, Potts added, I think it is fair to say at the moment the pirates may be cash rich but they are definitely asset poor; they have very few tradable assets.A year ago, Somali pirate gangs held 24 ships and 500 sailors; today they are holding seven ships and 200 sailors. He advised that only three ships have ...

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Piracy scourge and rising oil prices hit shipping industry

Shipping industry continues to be under strain as the European economic crisis persists The shipping industry continues to be under strain as the European economic crisis persists, says Grant Daly, CEO of shipping line Safmarine.It has been wrestling with several problems in recent years, including the piracy scourge, which costs the global shipping trade more than $9bn a year.In an interview last week, Mr Daly, who was recently appointed CEO of the shipping line, told Business Day that the European crisis had a "significant" effect on the shipping industry."Shipping is really about transportation of goods and if the economies are under pressure, you are likely to see a lesser amount of goods (being transported)," Mr Daly said."Our industry in general is under pressure and has been (for a while), as we went through a tough time in 2009 and again in 2011."It is a fragmented industry, the supply and demand is not at a place where we would be comfortable."Mr Daly said the costs of shipping continued to decline while oil prices increased, which added strain on the industry."In reality, to ship a container now costs you less than it did in 2005. The oil prices - a significant part ...

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Private fleet worth 30m set to fight Somali pirates

Plans for a private fleet of armed patrol boats to protect ships negotiating Plans for a private fleet of armed patrol boats to protect ships negotiating the pirate-infested waters off Somalia have received a huge boost after a prominent insurance figure agreed to provide financial support.Financial backing from Martin Reith, the founder and former chief executive of the Lloyd's of London insurer Ascot Underwriting, means that the Convoy Escort Program could be up and running as early as this summer.Mr Reith has become the lead investor in a $US30 million fundraising by the pioneering project, the commercial brainchild of insurers on the Lloyd's market seeking to reduce the costs caused by Somali piracy.CEP has embarked on investor roadshows in an effort to secure the remainder of the funds. Success would mean that the program could buy its first seven second-hand vessels and would also help to finance the armed security guards that would be on board.As well as four crew and eight armed security personnel, each vessel would have inflatable speedboats, or "ribs", that could be launched into combat if pirates threatened ships. The escort program has already identified the boats that it wants and has a manufacturer for its ...

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