Tuesday, October 12, 2010

UN Officials See EU Pirate Defences First Hand

Special Adviser Tours French Destroyer
Shipping News Feature

SOMALIA – KENYA - In a demonstration that the powers that be within the United Nations are taking the continuing threat seriously UN General Special Adviser on legal issues related to piracy off the coast of Somalia, Mr. Jack Lang, met EU NAVFOR Force Commander Rear-Admiral Philippe Coindreau on 9th October on board FS De Grasse in Mombasa. Special Adviser Lang and his team were given a tour of the French destroyer and were presented the process of handling suspected pirates on board.

Mr Lang’s visit follows the speech given by Baroness Catherine Ashton, the European Unions High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy whilst addressing the Second High Level Ministerial Conference on Maritime Piracy in Mauritius four days previously. Baroness Ashton made clear to delegates that a long term solution was dependent on the establishment of peace, security and the rule of law and reiterated that the EU was the largest donor for development and reconstruction assistance to Somalia, funding 87 projects to the tune of €200 million but that the EU would take ‘determined action’ to quell the rise of attacks on merchant shipping.

Mr Lang spoke with sailors on board the De Grasse who outlined the challenges they face with regards to the huge size of the area of operation. Rear-Admiral Philippe Coindreau addressed the difficulties linked to the detention and subsequent transfer for prosecution of suspected pirates.

Admiral Coindreau drummed home the point to Special Adviser Lang and his team that saying:

“Our goal is not only to fight piracy in the region, which is not easy considering the size of the area, but also to make sure suspected pirates are eventually prosecuted. The European Union has already some transfer agreements in place and negotiations are still ongoing for similar agreements with other partners in the region. It is of the utmost importance to follow up the Mauritius conference speeches with action and to find a lasting solution for the judicial treatment of piracy.”

Photo: Mr Lang tours the De Grasse with her Captain