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SL to make request to set up maritime operations secretariat against sea piracy off Somali coast

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The Sri Lankan Government plans to make a formal request to the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) to establish the proposed maritime operations secretariat for suppression of sea piracy off Somalia coast in the country.

Since 2005, there have been numerous incidents of hijacking of commercial ships by pirates in the Indian Ocean region of Somalia, and the highest number of pirate attacks were reported in 2010. The attacks on commercial ships made a strong impact on free-trade and the global economy.

The activities of these sea pirates have been weakened due to measures taken including the deployment of Navy personnel near the Somali coast, and the deployment of armed guards on board commercial vehicles. However, it is essential to take pre-emptive steps to enhance capabilities to combat sea piracy and to improve coordination between regional countries.

As an international mechanism to combat piracy, CGPCS was created on 14 January 2009, pursuant to UN Security Council Resolution 1851. This voluntary, ad hoc international forum brings together countries, organisations, and industry groups with an interest in combating piracy, and Sri Lanka is a founding member of the group. An opportunity has risen to establish the group’s maritime operations secretariat in Sri Lanka as the Sri Lanka Navy has the necessary capabilities and experience for maritime security operations.

Accordingly, President Maithripala Sirisena in his capacity as Minister of Defense has made a proposal to make a formal request to CGPCS to consider establishing the operations secretariat in Sri Lanka, and the President’s proposal has received approval from the Cabinet of Ministers.

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