"These pirates are criminals, they are armed gangs on the sea," Clinton said during a media availability after meeting with Haitian Prime Minister Michele Duvivier Pierre-Louis in Washington. "And those plotting attacks must be stopped, and those who have carried them out must be brought to justice.
The State Department is taking four immediate steps as it moves forward with a broader strategy to counter piracy, Clinton said.
"But let me underscore this point: The United States does not make concessions or ransom payments to pirates," she stressed.
Among the steps are sending an envoy to attend the International Somali peacekeeping and development meeting in Brussels and calling for immediate meetings with U.S. partners in the international Contact Group on Piracy to develop an expanded multinational response.
Clinton said she tasked a diplomatic team to meet with Somali leaders from the transitional federal government and Puntland.
"We will press these leaders to take action against pirates operating from bases within their territories," she said.
Finally, "because it is clear that defending against piracy must be the joint responsibility of governments and the shipping industry, I have directed our team to work with shippers and the insurance industry to address gaps in their self-defense measures," she said. "So we will be working on these actions, as well as continuing to develop a long-term strategy to restore maritime security to the Horn of Africa."
Notable deaths of 2014 [PHOTOS]