Almotamar.net, Saba - Prime Minister Ali Mujawar confirmed on Monday that the government has spared no efforts to combat piracy, reiterating Yemen's commitment to help all international efforts to combat maritime piracy.
This came during opening the regional meeting of the member States of Djibouti Code of Conduct on repression of piracy and armed robbery against ships in Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden off Somali coasts, which is held in Sana'a during November 8-10.
Mujawar reiterated also Yemen's commitment to protect the sovereignty of its territorial waters through its coastguard and navy forces.
"The sea piracy is an international problem, which is detrimental to the commercial interests of the world countries, but Yemen's economic interests have been severely damaged before any other country from this phenomenon", he said.
The Premier added that this phenomenon has affected the activity of Yemeni ports and led to the rise in marine insurance on vessels that go to these ports, as well as the activity of fishing.
He pointed out that in October this year only, for example, three Yemeni fishing boats were kidnapped and usually pirates get rid of the fishermen by flinging them into the sea or returning them with traffickers to Yemeni coast.
The losses of the Yemeni fisheries sector because of sea piracy were estimated at about USD 150 million in 2009 only, in addition to many Yemeni fishermen and some crews are still being held as hostages along with others belonging to various countries, all up to 813 sailors, Mujawar added.
He said the despite of the losses the Yemeni coastguard and navy forces have seized many pirates, 62 pirates of them are currently on trial and six of them were sentenced to death.
Despite the efforts made by Yemen and other international efforts in the escort of ships and the expanded patrols in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, pirates still continue and even carry out successful operations and they are now holding 23 ships and oil tankers, said Mujawar.
The areas under the control of pirates have become a goal for many young people in Somalia to exercise activities of piracy, which is increasing day after day, he added.
Mujawar expressed his hope that this important meeting comes out with practical mechanisms to counter the phenomenon of maritime piracy off the coast of Somalia and the Gulf of Aden, noting that the piracy becomes an international issues threatening the countries' security and trade as this phenomenon is related to the other illegal activities including smuggling of weapons, people and drugs.
He pointed that this meeting, which comes to put the final touches for operating the Regional Center in Sana'a for sharing information on combating piracy, is a very important step to unify efforts and capacities and exchange of information between countries in the region to address this phenomenon.
He emphasized that the biggest challenge to solve the piracy problem lies in addressing the roots of the Somali problem represented in restoring peace and security in Somalia and building the Somali State and strengthening the rule of law in it.
The meeting is organized by Yemen Transport Ministry and General Authority of Maritime Affairs. Heads of maritime authorities in eight countries are participating in the meeting, which are the host Yemen, Djibouti, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Eritrea, Sudan, Jordan and United Arab Emirates.
In addition, a number of countries are taking part in the meeting as observers, including Kenai, Tanzania, South Korea, the Netherlands, France, European Commission and a number of experts of the European Union and International Maritime Organization (IMO).
The three-day meeting will address the duties of national centers, contact points and the responsibilities of a regional centre of coordination and information exchange established in Sana'a and will be inaugurated officially January 2011.
In January 2009, a high-level meeting of 17 states from the Western Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Aden and Red Sea areas, was convened in Djibouti to help address the problem of piracy and armed robbery against ships off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden.