Mauritius has secured 3 million euros ($4.25 million) from the European Union for the trial and detention of suspected Somali pirates, the Indian ocean island nation said on Thursday.
Rampant piracy off the coast of Somalia has made it the world’s most dangerous shipping lane, earned Somali sea bandits tens of millions of dollars in ransoms and raised insurance premiums for shipping firms.
"If it (piracy) is allowed to grow at the pace it has in recent years, it could cause considerable damage to our fishing industry, to shipping, to the tourism industry and indeed to our ambition of developing the potential of our exclusive maritime zone," Finance Minister Pravind Jugnauth told reporters.
International navies trying to counter piracy off Somalia are often reluctant to take suspects to their own countries either because they lack the jurisdiction to put them on trial there or they fear the pirates may seek asylum.
Pirates arrested on the high seas are frequently returned to Somalia’s lawless shores.
"Mauritius has to pass a law on piracy and ... to start implementing the assistance which will come from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC)," Alessandro Mariani, the European Union’s ambassador to Mauritius, told Reuters.