India wants UN force to protect ships from pirates

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New Delhi, Nov 13 (UNI) Having successfully thwarted an attempt of pirates to capture an Indian merchant vessel in the Gulf of Aden region on Tuesday, India has called for formation of UN peace keeping force under a unified command to prevent pirates' attacks on ships.

In the first action of its kind, Indian Navy rescued the ship, M V Jag Arnav, when its helicopter-borne commandoes foiled pirates' bid to board the 38,265-tonne bulk carrier.

The demand for United Nations' outfit has been made by Indian delegation at the 101st council meeting of the International Maritime Organisation(IMO) underway in London.

India urged the IMO council to recommend the world body to set up a peace-keeping force under a unified command to prevent piracy attacks in international waters off Somalian coast in Gulf of Aden in Arabian sea.

Secretary (shipping) APVN Sarma called for concerted action to curb sea piracy in the region as 12 per cent of world's sea-borne oil trade, 50 per cent of dry bulk transportation and 33 per cent of global container trade passes through this vital sea lane. Such action by a UN body under a unified command would be far better than disjointed efforts by countries protecting ships with a particular flag or having seamen of a particular nationality.

The delegation also raised the issue of seafarers being detained on criminal charges relating to ship accidents. South Korean authorities had recently detained two merchant navy officers of Indian origin, when their anchored ship was hit by a support vessel of the port authority of that country. Such simple accidents should be not be criminalised, the Indian delegation said.

On greenhouse gases emission control in maritime sector, the delegation advocated consensus.

UNI SAA PY NS2005

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