Govt set to frame new law to tackle piracy: Vasan

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New Delhi, Jan 16 (PTI) The government is contemplatingframing a new legislation to tackle piracy in view ofincreasing incidents of Indian ships being hijacked on highseas.

"The Government is working on a legislation to deal withthe problem of piracy. In 2010, 12 Indian mechanised sailingvessels (MSVs), commonly known as ''dhows'', with 174 Indiannationals were hijacked," Shipping Minister G K Vasan toldPTI.

India has also raised concerns before the United Nationsto mitigate piracy, he said.

"The Indian delegations to IMO have expressed seriousconcern over the piracy incidents and have urged the need forthe UN to lead the initiative to mitigate piracy," Vasan said.

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) is a UNbody to ensure safety and security of ships in internationalwaters.

Vasan''s observation comes against the backdrop ofcapturing of 14 Indians along with their Gujarat-registereddhow (slow moving vessel) MSV Al-Musa by Somali pirates offthe Oman coast on January 9.

Vasan said a slew of measures have been initiated tocontain the menace including deployment of one additionalIndian Naval ship in the area to escort Indian ships. OneNaval ship has already been deployed in 2008.

Besides, around 22 Naval vessels of different countriesare reported to have been deployed in the region to protectthe trade routes.

"The way forward being followed by the Indian Governmentis to establish co-ordination with other naval ships in theregion to ensure safe transit of Indian interest," he said.

The Minister added that Gulf of Aden is the majoreast/west route for shipping with annually 44,000 shipspassing through it.

Stressing that his Ministry accords top priority tosecurity issues, he said, "More than 12 of the world''s oiltransits through the Gulf of Aden. India''s exim trade throughthe Gulf of Aden is estimated at about USD 117 billion whichis about 45 per cent of our exim trade."

About 15 Indian ships pass through the Gulf of Aden everymonth, he said, adding that the only alternative route toEurope is via Cape of Good Hope, which adds two to three weeksof sailing time and is also not safe.

He said that the Directorate General of Shipping has acommunication centre working 24x7 to closely coordinate withall Indian interests, Indian Navy and other piracy mitigatingagencies in the region to obviate piracy incident. MORE PTINAM MS MR

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