Government urged to do more to stop piracy

HMS Illustrious leaves Portsmouth for the last time
Picture: Shaun Roster

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THE government has been urged to step up its response to Somali pirates, which could create a ‘huge catastrophe’ by disrupting the UK’s energy supply, the former head of the Royal Navy, Lord West of Spithead, has warned.

The Labour peer, who was First Sea Lord from 2002 to 2006, called for the government to reinvigorate efforts to tackle the problem.

He said: ‘It is becoming a really dangerous issue. I believe that something will happen in the near future that will make us all pay attention.’

Lord West said the capture of liquefied natural gas ships ‘would stop energy supplies or affect energy supplies to the UK. There could be a huge catastrophe’.

Foreign Office Minister Lord Howell warned the situation was getting ‘more serious every week and more and more ships are being attacked by hijackers’.

He said the government recognised Lord West’s point and said it is a global issue.

He added: ‘This task must be tackled on a global level with great vigour before it gets very much worse.’