US weighs new options to defeat piracy threat

Obama administration to target pirate assets and property.
The Maersk Alabama arrives in the Kenyan port of Mombasa. Courtesy of AFP/Getty.
The Maersk Alabama arrives in the Kenyan port of Mombasa. Courtesy of AFP/Getty.

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As part of interim moves to put pressure on the threat posed by hijackers on shipping off Somalia, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said that the superpower will attempt to seize financial assets and property from known pirates.

"We have noticed that the pirates are buying more and more sophisticated equipment, they're buying faster and more capable vessels, they are clearly using their ransom money for their benefit - both personally and on behalf of their piracy," said Clinton, according to the Associated Press.

"We think we can begin to try and track and prevent that from happening," she added.

Clinton acknowledged that the scheme would be difficult due to the informal and local nature of the Somalian economy, which does not often use regulated portions of the international financial system.

She also indicated that such steps would not address the root cause of the problem - the lawlessness on the ground in the Horn of Africa state. The US secretary of state added that the Obama administration would also call for immediate meetings of an international anti-piracy task force and that US federal agencies would be meeting today to discuss the matter further.   

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