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Kenya and Tanzania discuss joint anti-piracy patrols

Kenya and Tanzania discuss joint anti-piracy patrols

Zanzibar: Kenya and Tanzania on Sunday were mulling the deployment of joint naval patrols on the Indian Ocean to stem the tide of piracy, AFP reported.

The idea came up at talks between the leader of Tanzania's semi-autonomous island of Zanzibar, Abeid Amani Karume and Kenyan vice president Kalonzo Musyoka.

The leaders said the problem of piracy was not only delaying cargo deliveries, but also pushing up the cost of shipping, as vessels had to be diverted more than 6,000 nautical miles to avoid the pirate-ridden zone.

"This problem of piracy is so serious and it is even now affecting the performance of our economy," said Karume.

"We are requesting that Kenya and Tanzania participate in joint naval activities in the region."

Kenya was also concerned at the disruption of maritime business along one of the world's busiest trade routes due to piracy off the coast of Somalia, said Musyoka.

"We are concerned as a country and every effort must be put in place to deal with piracy decisively," he added.

According to the International Maritime Bureau, pirate attacks off lawless Somalia increased tenfold in the first three months of 2009 compared with the same period in 2008, jumping from six to 61. [18/05/09]