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Maritime Anti-Piracy Act, 2022: New Era in Combat



  Apr 10, 2024

Maritime Anti-Piracy Act, 2022: New Era in Combat



On January 31, 2023, the President of India ratified the Maritime Anti-Piracy Act, 2022, marking a significant step forward in the country's maritime law enforcement. This legislation is designed to align with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, focusing on the suppression of piracy on the high seas. The Act provides a clear definition of piracy, encompassing illegal acts of violence, detention, or any form of depredation committed for private ends by individuals or groups against ships or their occupants on the high seas.

Key Provisions of the Act:

Definition of Piracy: The Act defines piracy as any illicit act of violence, detention, or depredation directed against ships, people, or property on the high seas for private ends, including voluntary participation in a pirate ship's operations, incitement, or facilitation of such acts, or any action considered piracy under international law.

Punishment for Attempting Piracy: Individuals attempting to commit piracy, or aiding, abetting, conspiring, or procuring the commission of such offences, face up to ten years in prison, fines, or both.

Organizing or Directing Piracy: Those who participate in, organize, or direct others in acts of piracy can be sentenced to up to fourteen years in prison, along with fines.

Implementation and Impact:

The Act has already shown its strength with the Indian Navy's apprehension of 35 Somalian pirates under this new law. This represents a crucial advancement from past encounters where pirates were often released due to the lack of specific maritime jurisdiction within the Indian legal framework. The Act not only clarifies the legal stance on piracy but also enhances the Navy's operational capabilities by empowering coastal police and naval forces to inspect, search, and seize suspicious vessels.

This legal framework is part of India's broader strategy to ensure maritime security and combat piracy, a persistent threat in strategic sea lanes. The operation against the Merchant Vessel Ruen in the Arabian Sea, culminating in the capture of pirates using the vessel as a mothership, underscores the Act's significance in enabling decisive action against maritime threats.

Moreover, the challenges posed by piracy and threats from Houthi rebels in the region have been accentuated. The Navy's engagement with these threats, including the use of locally manufactured drones by rebels, highlights the evolving nature of maritime security challenges. The Maritime Anti-Piracy Act, 2022, thus stands as a crucial tool in India's arsenal for safeguarding its maritime interests and upholding international maritime law.



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