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Somalia: Pirates

Volume 716: debated on Wednesday 6 January 2010

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether in any encounters between Royal Navy units and suspected pirates operating off the coast of Somalia hostages were being held; and, if so, whether they were released following the Royal Navy's intervention. [HL525]

Since October 2008, Royal Navy units have carried out compliant boardings on three suspected pirates vessels where hostages were subsequently found on board. In all three cases the hostages were released following the Royal Navy's intervention.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Royal Naval forces off the coast of Somalia have given any aid, advice or sustenance to suspected pirates; and, if so, whether it was subject to conditions. [HL526]

To date there have been four instances where water, fuel or food has been provided to suspected pirates in line with our duty under international law to render assistance to ensure safety of life at sea. In these cases, following detailed analysis of all physical evidence, suspects were released as it was assessed that there was insufficient evidence to be reasonably confident that a successful prosecution could be undertaken. Any suspected pirate equipment was destroyed to prevent its future use.