MP: Navy must feel free to take on pirates

Portsmouth MP enlists in armed forces scheme

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THE Royal Navy must step up its battle against pirates – or motorists will have to pay more at the pump, an MP has warned.

John Spellar urged the government to give the Royal Navy more resources and freedom to take on pirates.

He said the need to combat piracy was highlighted by the hijacking of a Greek supertanker carrying £125m-worth of crude oil off the coast of Oman recently.

The MP raised his concerns in the House of Commons, and asked Foreign Office minister Henry Billingham: ‘Does he accept that we are now close to a tipping point on that vital trade route?’

Mr Billingham said: ‘I would not say that we were at a tipping point, but the problem has got worse. The pirates now have greater capability, as they can deploy much further out into the ocean through their use of mother ships.

‘The Royal Navy is keeping the rules of engagement under review at all times, and, as I have said, we have a ministerial working party looking at every single option for the future.’