US WANTS ANTI PIRACY FIGHT TAKEN ASHORE


The fight against piracy must involve efforts on land and at sea, the U.S. Navy’s top officer said on Monday, saying the issue was more complex than just putting arms on commercial ships.

“Pirates don’t live at sea. They live ashore. They move their money ashore. You can’t have a discussion about eradicating piracy without having a discussion about the shore dimension,” Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Gary Roughead told reporters after a speech at a Navy League conference.

He said the area off the coast of Somalia was four times the size of Texas and there were complex legal issues involved. He said it was also not clear that the shipping industry wanted to begin using armed convoys to protect ships against pirates.

Heavily armed pirates from virtually lawless Somalia have increasingly struck merchant ships in the Gulf of Aden, capturing dozens of vessels and hundreds of hostages and making off with millions of dollars in ransoms.

U.S. Navy commandos shot and killed three gunmen last month to free Richard Phillips, the U.S. ship captain held hostage by Somali pirates. A fourth suspected pirate was arrested and brought to the United States for trial.

His kidnapping prompted several U.S. lawmakers to call for putting U.S. military forces on board commercial vessels, a measure opposed by the Pentagon.

SOURCED FROM REUTERS

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