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Australia tackles piracy in the Indian Ocean

August 10, 2012

Foreign Minister Bob Carr announced an extension of an Australian Federal Police secondment to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), while visiting Perth today.

Senator Carr said Australia will provide a further $2 million in Australian assistance to help tackle piracy in the Indian Ocean.

“Since 2009, Australia has deployed three Australian Federal Police officers to work with the UNODC and share their expertise with regional law and justice officials,” Senator Carr said.

“Somali Piracy in the Indian Ocean is a serious international threat.

“In late May 2012, 13 vessels and about 280 crew members were being held hostage by Somali pirates, demanding ransoms of millions of dollars.

“Pirate groups move regularly and use hostages and locals as human shields to protect themselves and extract ransom payments.

“This puts Australians at risk – including seafarers crewing foreign-owned ships or Australian tourists on pleasure craft or cruise ships.

“It impacts on international trade and tourism and undermines regional development efforts.”

Australia has been supporting the UNODC with funding from AusAID to build the capacity of states in the Indian Ocean region to detain and prosecute piracy suspects since 2009.

This work has so far delivered 18 trials and 14 cases involving around 260 suspects.

Senator Carr said an additional $2 million will further strengthen the rule of law in regional states and combat piracy in the Indian Ocean.

“This new funding brings Australia’s total assistance for regional counter-piracy efforts to more than $4.3 million since 2009,” Senator Carr said.

Australia also hosted an international counter-piracy conference in Perth on 15-17 July.

The conference explored the lessons learned from addressing piracy in South-East Asia, and how these lessons might be applied to piracy off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Guinea.

The conference was attended by 59 countries and organisations.

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