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Commons To Investigate Impact Of Piracy On UK‎

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12/09/2005 LLOYDS LIST

UK MPs are to hold an inquiry into the issue of piracy on the high seas, the House of Commons transport committee has announced, writes David Osler.

Although the investigation will necessarily cover international aspects of the problem, there will be some focus on the impact on UK shipping in particular. Indeed, the committee claims that Britain itself is not immune from piracy.

It maintains there have been two piracy incidents in British ports since 1993, both taking place in Goole, East Yorkshire , in July 2002.

In the first case, robbers broke into the master's cabin while an unnamed ship was berthed, stealing $7,000.

The second incident, almost three weeks later, also saw the theft of cash and crew belongings.

However, the term is being used loosely here, as the robberies did not take place outside territorial waters.

The inquiry, to be chaired by Labour stalwart Gwyneth Dunwoody, will examine the reason for the increase in piracy in recent decades, and how it is affecting British shipping in particular.

Other topics include guidance from national governments and international organisations, and how they are tackling the threat.

There will also be consideration of 'geographic areas of special concern', almost certainly a reference to Somalia .

Word of the inquiry was welcomed across the industry. Pottengal Mukundan of the International Maritime Bureau said: 'It is a good thing. It raises the profile of piracy.'

The Chamber of Shipping said it looked forward to working with the committee.

Copyright © 2005 Informa Martime Trade and Transport

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