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Brazier: proposed criminalisation of piracy puts British navy at risk

Brazier: proposed criminalisation of piracy puts British navy at risk

London: Shadow Shipping Minister Julian Brazier (pictured) has raised the issue of rules governing how the Royal Navy tackles piracy with the British Government. The minister believes that recent European Union recommendations to treat piracy as a criminal offence rather than an act of way could endanger the lives of naval officers and may see pirates claiming asylum in the UK.

"The effect of doing that would be to require our armed forces to risk their lives trying to capture pirates -who might then, in some circumstances, be able to claim asylum - rather than simply blowing them out of the water, as the Indian navy has just done," Brazier said, when addressing the house of parliament yesterday.

Brazier was disappointed by the parliament's response that he "await the inclusion of such issues in the legislation to be introduced following the Queen's Speech."

 "This problem needs to be tackled, and to do that the Royal Navy must be given unequivocal support. The minister's reply really doesn't help matters," he said.

Piracy has been a growing problem in the Gulf of Aden, with roughly 100 ships attacked this year, and 39 hijacked.  [21/11/08]