Page last updated at 18:15 GMT, Tuesday, 2 December 2008

UN extends anti-piracy measures

French warship in the Gulf of Aden, off the coast of Djibouti
Warships are already in the region as pirate attacks increase

The UN Security Council has extended its authorisation for countries to enter Somalia's territorial waters to stop acts of piracy.

The 12-month extension allows nations - with advance notice - to use "all necessary means" to combat piracy in Somali waters.

Diplomats say the move is needed to control the rising number of pirate attacks on shipping off Somalia.

The council also backed an EU naval mission to tackle piracy in the region.

The EU operation begins on 8 December and involves five or six warships patrolling Somalia's Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean waters.

Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin called the pirates' goals "ever-expanding".

Legal battle

The BBC's Laura Trevelyan, at the UN, says the 15-nation council has also taken steps to ensure pirates are brought to justice once they are captured.

At sea it is often not clear which laws apply.

The UN resolution urges nations to use the powers in a convention which obliges them to extradite or prosecute pirates once they are caught, our correspondent says.

There have been almost 100 attacks on ships by pirates off east Africa so far this year.

Pirates are still holding a Saudi tanker, the Sirius Star, and its cargo of two million barrels of oil off the Somali coast.

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