Piracy in the Indian Ocean Region

Piracy in the Indian Ocean Region

Recent context:

  • Indian Navy was able to rescue all 21 crew members including 15 Indians, from a Liberian-flagged vessel MV Lila Norfork that was hijacked by pirates near the coast of Somalia.
  • The ship was sanitized by a team of navy elite unit MARCOS.

Piracy:

Piracy is an act of robbery or criminal violence by ship-borne attackers upon another ship, to steal cargo or other valuables from the ship.

Regions affected:

The Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Guinea, Strait of Malacca, Sulu and Celebes Seas, Indian Ocean, and Falcon Lake (Canada).

International Law for Piracy:

India ratified the UN Convention on Laws of the Sea in 1995.

Anti Maritime Piracy Bill 2022:

Penalties:

  • An act of piracy will be punishable with:
    • Imprisonment for life;¬†or
    • Death, if the act of piracy causes or attempts to cause death.
  • An attempt to commit, aid, support, or counsel an act of piracy will be¬†punishable with up to 14 years of imprisonment,¬†and a fine.
  • Participating, organizing, or directing others to participate in an act of piracy will also be¬†punishable with up to 14 years of imprisonment,¬†and a fine.
  • Offenses will be considered¬†extraditable.¬†This means that the accused can be¬†transferred to any country for prosecution¬†with which India has signed an¬†extradition treaty.
    • In the absence of such treaties, offenses will be extraditable based on reciprocity between the countries.

Jurisdiction of the Courts:

  • The central government, in consultation with the Chief Justice of the concerned¬†High Court, may notify¬†Sessions Courts¬†as the Designated Courts under this Bill.
  • The Designated Court will try offences committed by:
    • A person in the¬†custody of the¬†Indian Navy¬†or¬†Coast Guard, regardless of his nationality.
    • A citizen of India, a resident foreign national in India, or a stateless person.
  • The Court will¬†not have jurisdiction over offenses committed on a foreign ship¬†unless an intervention is requested by:
    • The country of origin of the ship.
    • The ship-owner.
    • Any other person on the ship.
  • Warships and government-owned ships employed for non-commercial purposes will¬†not be under the jurisdiction of the Court.

Related Links: Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)

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