The UN counter-piracy fund that has been in existence since 2011 has boosted maritime security in Somalia and Western Indian Ocean coastline through enhanced prosecution of culprits, an official said on Friday.
Jaime Serpanchy, the Secretary of UN Counter-Piracy Trust Fund (CPTF), said that technical support for countries affected by piracy in the Horn of Africa region has improved their capacity to prosecute criminals involved in the vice.
“The trust fund’s primary mission which is to assist countries in the horn and eastern African region carry out piracy prosecutions has been a success,” said Serpanchy.
“We are assisting these countries including Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania and Seychelles to counter all aspects of piracy through training of maritime police and agencies involved in the prosecution of suspects,” she added.
The UN official spoke to Xinhua on the sidelines of the 21st Plenary Session on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia attended by an estimated 200 delegates from 68 countries.
Senior policymakers, representatives of multilateral agencies and security experts attended the three day Nairobi summit to discuss new strategies to eradicate piracy in Somalia waters.
Serpanchy said the UN counter piracy trust fund has facilitated the rollout of forty projects in the greater horn and eastern African region to promote maritime security that is key to economic growth.
“The biggest impact of the fund so far is the establishment of a piracy prosecution centre in Seychelles. It is the only centre of its kind in the world,” Serpanchy said.
She noted the establishment of a specialized centre to deal with maritime crimes has contributed to a sharp drop in the hijacking of commercial vessels in Somalia and Western Indian Ocean coastlines.
“It is now possible to try pirates caught in the high seas and prevent them from interacting with the outside world,” said Serpanchy.
She revealed that the UN counter piracy trust fund has supported training of Kenyan prison personnel on the human rights-based prosecution of criminals involved in the hijacking of merchant ships.