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Maritime officials seek more authority to confront pirates

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"If we do take definitive deadly force against them, don't you think that would become more of a deterrent?" says Captain Thomas Bushy, vice president of marine operations and master of the training ship Kennedy, at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in Buzzards Bay.

In December of 2008, the United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution that allows cooperating member states to enter Somali territorial waters and use "all necessary means" to fight piracy and armed robbery off the Somali coast. According to the International Maritime Organization, that includes "deploying naval vessels and military aircraft, as well as seizing and disposing of boats, vessels, arms, and related equipment used for piracy ... in accordance with relevant international law."

But Captain Bushy says that limits actions to vessels caught in the act of piracy, and he asserts that the international community has to go further.

"We have to give these warships out on the high seas a lot more latitude and ability to challenge any vessel they suspect of being a pirate vessel – stop them, search them, just like we do with drug interdiction patrols in the Caribbean with Coast Guard boats," he says.

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