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Singhvi calls for need to establish global treaty to combat Somali piracy


April 10, 2012 - New Delhi

Reacting to report of hijacking of 17 Indian citizens by Somali pirates, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi has called for the need to establish a global treaty to combat such crimes on high seas.

"I see no overall solution until and unless the entire set of countries and this is a general view, obviously not a government view or an immediate view. Until and unless a large group of countries specially bordering the rim and the horn of Africa, Middle East and that entire area get together collectively, because this has now become a scourge, it is selective, it is random, it is episodic, you don't know which ship will get attacked when? And obviously these are private commercial merchant ships so governments can only react to expose factor," Singhvi told media.

"So I agree with you it is extremely serious but it requires I think a global effort by way of a regional treaty at least of that region to take the strongest possible action which is exemplary in nature and teaches a lesson so that future incidents do not recur," he added.

The MV Royal Grace, a chemical tanker with a crew of 22, including 17 Indians was seized off Oman on 2 March by Somali pirates.

Family members of the victims were informed about the incident after over a month and no further update on the condition of the sailors has been received.

Improved international cooperation on combating piracy on land and at sea - covering an area four times the size of the Arabian peninsula - has been the cornerstone of efforts to tackle a problem costing the world economy up to 12 billion dollars a year.

Pirates held 1,026 hostages last year but after some 146 million dollars in ransom was paid to free 30 vessels, the number of hostages has fallen to 236, according to NATO figures.

ANI

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