The Singapore Shipping Association has proposed the involvement of a dedicated UN force to protect commercial shipping in the Indian Ocean.
In practical terms the force would consist of UN troops stationed at way points at which merchant vessels could pick up a protection squad before they navigated the most dangerous areas.
The SSA presented its proposal to the UN’s ninth plenary meeting of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia in New York on Thursday, said SSA executive director Daniel Tan.
The SSA said this would help to get the participation of major flag states like Liberia and Panama, which lacked the resources for military deployments themselves, and would be a cheaper solution than extensive naval deployments.
In addition the SSA believes UN-sanctioned troops would not face any potential legal issues, unlike armed private security contractors, which operate in a legal grey area and whose presence is not welcome in some ports. “It is a possible medium-term solution,” said Mr Tan.
The SSA maintains that a long-term solution to the piracy issue in the Indian Ocean will involve international engagement with Somalia.