President of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko addressed international organizations to step up security at sea because of the rise in seizures of ships by Somali pirates, according to the President’s press office.

The Head of State sent an address to the United Nations, the European Union, and NATO.
Yushchenko said that there had recently been more cases of seizures by pirates of ships flying the flags of various countries, with their crews held hostage by pirates to get a ransom. In the last five years, Ukrainian citizens have been held hostage by pirates on board 15 ships. The pirates are currently holding 34 Ukrainians hostage.

The President said that maritime piracy could pose a threat not only to maritime navigation, but also to international trade, and become a profitable criminal business.

"Confirming its international commitments to prevent illegal acts threatening marine navigation, Ukraine is calling on all entities under international law to considerably intensify their efforts and take real joint action to fight piracy at sea," Yushchenko said in his address.

"There is an urgent need for the international community to create security corridors to protect against pirates and open additional regional coordination centers to ensure navigation security, to give foreign military ships the right to follow pirates into territorial waters, to ensure the armed security of trade vessels using sea routes that have proved dangerous, and institute passive systems to protect civil vessels," Yushchenko said.

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