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Suez Canal head implores world's navies to 'cooperate' to fight pirates

Suez Canal head implores world's navies to 'cooperate' to fight pirates

London: The head of the Suez Canal yesterday urged navies patrolling the pirate-ridden waters off the east coast of Africa to improve their co-ordination and consider measures such as forming convoys and providing escorts to prevent further attacks on vulnerable ships, the Financial Times reported.

Ahmed Aly Fadel, chairman of the Suez Canal Authority, also warned that Arab navies had to take action to prevent the piracy spilling over into the Red Sea, which is home to the key Saudi ports of Jeddah and Jizan.

The Suez waterway is critical to the Egyptian economy and in the last fiscal year it earned a record $5.2bn (EUR4bn, £3.4bn) making it the nation's third highest source of foreign currency behind tourism and remittances. The canal already faces a reduction in traffic because of the global economic crisis.

"We can say that the international steps taken to safeguard the international route in the Gulf of Aden are not enough," Mr Fadel said. "If they do not co-operate they will lose a lot, they will do something but not with the good result." [28/11/08]