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Home >> World
UPDATED: 07:50, February 21, 2006
Somalia urges U.S. navy to deal with illegal fishing, piracy
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Somalia's transitional government has called on the U.S. navy to broaden its patrols to counter illegal fishing and piracy in the Horn of Africa country's dangerous waters.

In a statement received here Monday, Somali Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister Hassan Abshir Farah urged the U.S. Navy based in Djibouti to find lasting solution to the menace.

"As Somalia's coastline is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, curbing sea piracy and illegal fisheries will not only be beneficial to the Somali people but also to the international community at large," said Farah in a statement issued in Nairobi.

The Somali minister said the transitional government was grateful for the U.S. navy's arrest of 10 pirates who attempted to hijack a merchant ship off the Somali coast.

"Somalia is grateful for recent initiatives taken by the United States Navy aimed at curtailing rampant sea piracy that has been taking place in the territorial waters of Somalia," said Farah.

"But it will also be pleased if similar action could be taken against illegal fisheries in the Somali territorial waters. The illegal international fishing vessels cause serious damage to Somali marine resources and its environment," said the minister.

In late November, the Somali transitional government signed a 55-million-dollar contract with a private American security firm to guard its coastline against pirates.

The two-year contract between Somalia's fisheries ministry and Topcat Marine Security was designed to defend Somalia's territorial waters, defeat the pirates, and put an end to the illegal fishing and poaching of natural marine resources.

Somalia's coastline has seen an increase of piracy in the recent months, affecting both commercial and humanitarian ships sailing near the Horn of Africa nation that has been lacked an effective government for the last 14 years.

The International Maritime Bureau has reported 39 attacks on vessels since March last year.

The U.S. navy's fifth fleet last month captured 10 pirates who staged an abortive attack on the Bahamian-flagged bulk carrier MV Delta Ranger about 80 km off Somalia's eastern coast.

Source: Xinhua

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