London funds counter-piracy initiatives

Oct. 12, 2011 at 12:29 PM

LONDON, Oct. 12 (UPI) -- The British government announced it was spending roughly $7 million to fund a package of counter-piracy projects that complement naval efforts.

British Foreign Minister for Africa Henry Bellingham said, in a statement to lawmakers, the government approved of funding for counter-piracy efforts in Mauritius, the Seychelles, Tanzania and Somalia.

"This support provides concrete evidence of this government's determination to deliver a comprehensive range of action in response to the threat from piracy, complementing the robust action being taken by the (British navy) at sea," he said.

The projects range from court and prison capacity building to maritime security needs and economic development. The projects are supported through a variety of U.N. agencies, including the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime and the U.N. Development Program.

The British Defense Ministry, meanwhile, announced the British navy and marines rescued more than 20 merchant sailors held on the hijacked MV Montecristo in the Indian Ocean east of Suez.

British Defense Minister Liam Fox said piracy was a global problem that cost the maritime industry millions of dollars per year.

"The (British navy) is at the forefront of international efforts to battle this menace," he said.

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