Pirates laundering ransom money through Mauritius route has alarmed security agencies which fear that even terrorist organisations are involved in this operation. Given the implication of this emerging scenario on international security and fight against terrorism, several countries including India want pro-active measures to counter this threat before it gets too late.
Facing the scourge of piracy and terrorism, many nations are apprehensive that if pro-active action is not initiated now, pirates in collusion with terrorist organisations will adopt more sophisticated system of laundering money through financial institutions and make it difficult for the law enforcement agencies to track down origin and source of money coming into banks.
The issue has figured in some high-level international meetings of security agencies in the past few months including Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) in South Africa involving Navy chiefs of 30 countries including India.
The five-day symposium in Cape Town in March accorded top priority to this issue and the participants also discussed ways and mean to deny pirates access to banks to operate accounts besides blocking their sources supplying weapons, boats and communication systems.
Reports of Al Qadea elements having strong links with Somalian pirates and the virtual non-existence of the Somalian government and its inability to crack down on this nexus also figured in the conclave, sources said.
While law enforcing agencies are yet to find any overt link between pirates and terrorist organisations, sources said given the nature of secrecy involved in such alignments, there was strong possibility of terrorist outfits supplying logistical support to the pirates to sustain their operations.
In fact, the 450-mile-long Gulf of Aden off Somalia is the trouble spot and navies of more than 20 countries including India, US, UK, Canada, France, China and Pakistan have deployed warships to patrol the piracy infested sea lane to ensure trouble free passage for merchant ships.
While India backs pro-active action against Somalian pirates including military operation in Somalian waters and crackdown on money laundering, New Delhi, however, wants these actions to be undertaken under the UN flag, officials said.
India has deployed its warship in the Gulf of Aden since 2008 but is not part of any group like NATO countries who are also operating their warships there. However, the patrolling of the Gulf Aden is carried out in a coordinated manner to ensure maximum utilization of resources of all the navies.
Giving an example, sources said an Indian warship accompanies a group of merchant ships from one end of the Gulf of Aden on a given day and the next warship of some other country follows the Indian ship after a gap of one day or so thereby avoiding duplication of operations.
This pattern adopted some months ago also ensures that the Gulf of Aden is patrolled at all times of day, officials said adding earlier a warship of one country used to escort merchant ships and the next warship used to follow it within some hours. Then there used to be a gap of two or three days thereby allowing the pirates to have free run of the vast stretch of sea for days together.
This article was posted by Neptune Maritime Security via dailypioneer.com. MaritimeSecurity.Asia in cooperation with www.neptunemaritimesecurity.com