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Last Updated: Friday, 25 November 2005, 20:49 GMT
US firm to fight Somali pirates

A US company has been given a two-year contract to help fight piracy off the Somalia coast - seen as among the world's most dangerous waters.

The $50m contract has been awarded by Somalia's transitional government.

Topcat Marine Security will target the "mother ship" launching pirate ships from the open sea, said the firm's Peter Casini.

Earlier this month, pirates fired rocket-propelled grenades at a US-based luxury cruise liner.

There have been 32 pirate attacks off the Somali coast since March this year, according to the International Maritime Board.

Government dismayed

"The agreement signed today will defend Somalia's territorial waters, defeat the pirates and put an end to the illegal fishing and poaching of our precious natural marine resources," Prime Minister Mohamed Ali Gedi said.

"The government wishes to express its dismay at these abhorrent actions."

We will end the piracy very quickly, there is no question about that
Peter Casini
Topcat Marine Security

Under the deal, Topcat will supply all the necessary equipment and training to help Somalia's coastguard and special forces monitor the coastline.

The firm is also expected to help the Somali government set up five naval bases.

"We will end the piracy very quickly, there is no question about that," said Mr Casini.

"There is a ship that is launching small ships 75 to 100 miles from the shore, our goal is to take the mother ship."

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09 Feb 05 |  Africa

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