The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Pirates Are Getting 'More Sophisticated'

Though piracy has significantly reduced off the Somali coast, pirates have become more organised and sophisticated, Indian Navy officers l have said.

Commanding officer of Indian naval ship Deepak, Balbir Munjal, said on Monday that this has made the fight more complicated. He said the pirates use more sophisticated weapons and are more tactical than before.

Speaking aboard the INS Delhi after it docked at the Mombasa port together with INS Deepak, Munjal said the pirates have back-up on land who provide them with information they require.

"Piracy is still there but has been reduced considerably. In the last three weeks we have been at sea, we have not encountered any piracy activity," he said.

Munjal called for more cooperation between the Kenyan and Indian Navy to finish off piracy completely. He called for the fast-tracking of the modification of rules to punish pirates more.

Indian High Commissioner to Kenya Sibabrata Tripathi said the cooperation between the Kenya and Indian Navy further improves bilateral relations between the two countries.

Tripathu hailed the new Lamu port initiative saying it will open up the region. He called for more concerted efforts to completely root out piracy.

Brazil ambassador to Kenya Ana Maria Sampaio said piracy has become a big scourge to the global economy. Sampaio said Brazil is committed to peace at sea and the peaceful exploration of resources.

She and Tripathi said the joint Indian, Brazilian and South African maritime programme (IBSAMAR) should be encouraged to not only keep the sea safe but also to support people in distress.

The INS Delhi, a destroyer and INS Deepak, a combat support ship, docked at the Mombasa port on November 12 and will stay until November 15. The officers in the two ships have undergone a three-week training exercise in distress response and humanitarian aid in South Africa.

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