Somalia: Puntland capable of securing maritime routes alone-Official
GAROWE, Somalia, September 3, 2015 (Garowe Online)-Puntland Anti-Piracy Agency Director Abdirizak Mohamed Ahmed (Ducaysane) on Thursday said, Puntland will be capable of policing maritime lanes against pirates if the mandate of NATO counter piracy task force ends, Garowe Online reports.
The Counter-piracy Directorate Boss blamed NATO warships for providing safe haven to illegal trawlers plundering Somalia’s fish stocks in the Exclusive Economic Zone.
“If foreign naval vessels leave, pirates will not return but if illegal fishing continuous then it’s clear that piracy activities will make comeback,” Ducaysane said.
He noted that foreign counter piracy missions are only tasked with combating pirates on high seas despite poignant decline in maritime crimes.
According to Ducaysane, pirates made their last hijacking in May 2012 and ever since unregulated fishing has been gradually becoming another burden in areas along the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea.
Foreign navies ‘accomplices’
Puntland official alleged that foreign navies partly contributed to the increasing illegal fishing activities of intruders in territorial waters.
“Illegal fishing caused and fueled high seas crimes. When pirates were deterred, we would expect to see end of illegal fishing. They guard their respective trawlers and as long as illegal fishing is practiced, pirates will regroup”.
Continuing, he said: “To some extent, Puntland can defend itself but [Somalia Federal Government] should clarify [Exclusive Economic Zone declaration]”.
Anti-Piracy Agency Chief decried the absence of internationally-agreed zone which would greatly help Somalia tackle pillage in territorial waters.
Counter piracy operations led to major decline in piracy activities off the coast of Somalia over the last two years.
In 2010, Puntland enacted Somalia’s first-ever anti-piracy law, setting up Maritime Police Force to conduct on-land raids and anti-piracy patrols aimed at belittling pirate scourge.