Skip to main content

Piracy

Volume 485: debated on Tuesday 9 December 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a copy of the guidance issued to commanders in relation to (a) detention of pirates and (b) applications for asylum by pirates detained on Royal Navy vessels. (240452)

[holding answer 8 December 2008]: Commanding officers of Royal Navy ships are issued with guidance on the applicable law and principles relating to the handling and detention of those suspected of committing offences on the high seas. I am withholding this information as it would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of our armed forces.

With respect to applications for asylum, I refer the hon. Member to the answer my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State and Minister for Veterans gave on 20 November 2008, Official Report, column 669W, to the hon. Member for North Essex (Mr. Jenkin).

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what guidance Royal Navy personnel (a) have been and (b) will be given in (i) the impact of human rights legislation on the ability to transfer captured pirates to other countries, including their own, (ii) the prospect of such captives claiming rights and benefits in the United Kingdom and (iii) whether to take pirates into captivity on Royal Navy vessels. (241991)

Commanding Officers of Royal Navy ships are issued with guidance on the applicable law and principles relating to the handling and detention of those suspected of committing offences on the high seas. More detailed guidance, specific to the particular operations or circumstances, is issued when required.

Commanding Officers are not empowered to decide on an individual’s entitlement to rights and benefits, including applications for asylum; that is a matter for the Home Office.