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Govt says piracy incidents down due to joint patrol

11 December 2013, 16:25

Mombasa - The government said the establishment Anti-Piracy Unit (APU) has significantly reduced piracy incidents along the Indian Ocean coastline.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Keriako Tobiko also attributed the drop in piracy off the coast of Somalia to the deployment of the foreign and Kenyan navy forces along the Indian Ocean coastline.

He said despite the challenges faced by the country in the fight against piracy, the government has signed agreements with other states involved in anti-piracy operations.

"Kenya has indeed achieved some milestones in the fight against piracy. These have included; the execution of MoUs and exchange of letters with other states involved in counter-piracy operations," Tobiko said late Tuesday.

He said the Anti-Piracy Unit has led to the arrest and prosecution of suspected pirates who have been hijacking foreign vessels off the coast of Somalia.

The drop in piracy incidents is however a relief to shipping companies using the Indian Ocean that have been target of pirates often paying heavy ransom to secure release of their vehicles and the crew.

The government expects more shipping lines to use the port of Mombasa and in return expand regional trade in Kenya, Uganda, Burundi and Congo, with the diffused threat of piracy following the deployment of Kenya Defense Force (KDF) soldiers in southern Somalia.

"We decided to sort-out the problem of piracy at the source and KDF moved into Somalia last year and teamed up with allied forces, and we are now on our way to stabilize Somalia," said a government official who did not want to be named told Xinhua recently.

Shipping companies had been forced to hire private security companies to enhance the security of their vehicles, a fact that however has increased the cost of doing business.

The incident had also affected the shipping sector by rise of cost of insurance as shippers took extra covers for war risk, kidnap and ransom in addition to conventional underwriting of cargo and hull.

Tobiko cited language barrier, inadequate legal framework, resources and congested correctional facilities as some of the challenges facing the fight against piracy.

- Xinhua


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