Piracy is rampant along Somalia’s 1,880-mile coast, which is the longest in Africa and near key shipping routes connecting the Red Sea with the Indian Ocean. The seas around Somalia have seen more than a dozen pirate attacks this year alone. On Wednesday, two ships were attacked in the Gulf of Aden.
The draft resolution, which the Security Council expects to vote on Monday, is in part a response to requests from both Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Somali government for international help in combatting the problem.
Wracked by more than a decade of violence and anarchy, Somalia does not have a navy, and a transitional government formed in 2004 with U.N. help has struggled to assert control. The U.S. Navy has led international patrols to try to combat piracy in the region.
For a period of six months, the resolution would allow states cooperating with Somalia’s transitional government to « enter the territorial waters of Somalia for the purpose of repressing acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea. »
« We’re very pleased that we’ll be moving ahead on this resolution, » said Ben Chang, deputy spokesman for the U.S. mission to the U.N. « For some time we’ve all acknowledged that the scourge of piracy has been a problem for many countries. … We have a very clear framework in which countries can tackle this problem. »