German authorities miss fight against pirates

4th June 2008, Comments 0 comments

Germany is left out of a UN-led fight against Somalian pirates due to legal restraints

Berlin -- Although a German-owned freighter is currently being detained by Somali pirates, the German Navy said on Tuesday that it would stay out of a looming, UN-approved fight against piracy because parliament in Berlin has not approved.

The 15-nation UN Security Council on Monday unanimously authorised navies to enter Somalia's territorial waters to fight piracy.

But a German Defence Ministry spokesman said German law only permitted police to hunt pirates.

"We've got the assets but not the legal powers, and the German police have got the legal powers, but not the assets," he said, referring to the flotilla of lethal German warships which patrols off the Horn of Africa.

He said German law did allow the navy to ward off impending peril, but this did not extend to trying to recapture a hijacked ship like the Gibraltar-flagged MV Lehmann Timber, a German-owned freighter seized a week ago.

The German flotilla off Somalia has authorisation from Germany's parliament mainly to prevent terrorists crossing the sea between Somalia and the Arabian Peninsula.

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