At a UN Security Council debate on maritime piracy, UN deputy secretary general Jan Eliasson said that while attacks had been reduced off the coast of Somalia this year, numbers could take off again unless countries take action.
According to International Maritime Organization (IMO) figures, there were 291 attacks against ships in the first 10 months of the year and 293 crew are still hostage. East Africa, West Africa and Asia-Pacific are the worst hit zones.
Eliasson said there had to be tougher legal action against pirates.
“We need to strengthen the capacity of states to prosecute individuals suspected of piracy and to imprison convicted pirates,” he said. “That effort must include deterring and suppressing the financing of piracy and the laundering of ransom money.”