"The trend of the increased levels of violence employed by the pirates as well as their expanding reach is disconcerting," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his latest report to the Security Council on piracy and armed robbery off Somalia's Indian Ocean coast.
"I appeal to all ships traversing the high seas off the coast of Somalia to follow ... (International Maritime Organization) recommendations and industry-developed best management practices, which have proved to significantly reduce the risk of being hijacked," Ban said.
Ban welcomed steps taken to prosecute suspected pirates and imprison convicted offenders, singling out efforts by Kenya and Seychelles, as well as other nations that have provided resources for the trial and incarceration of convicted pirates.
He said much more needs to be done, including improvements in the collection of evidence and other investigative activities following arrests at sea, as well as finding long-term legal solutions.
U.N. member states, Interpol and the European Police Office are working together to expose international criminal networks that profit from acts of piracy off the Somali coast, Ban said in the report.
"We need to know more about whether there are any connections to the financing of militias or insurgent groups in Somalia or elsewhere. Also, little is known about the impact of piracy on women, especially those living in areas where the criminals operate," the secretary-general said.