Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs, told a conference on counter-piracy that the threat of pirates emanating from the Somali coasts had escalated, as more seafarers were held captive for long time, facing violence and increasing inhuman conditions.
"In this respect the UAE is pleased to contribute USD 1 million to building and upgrading capabilities of Somali naval forces and coast guard to carry out their missions properly.
"The second conference comes at a critical time for both Somalia and partners advancing the international response to maritime piracy off the coast of Somalia," Sheikh Abdullah said, in his address read on his behalf by Anwar Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.
He said the human threat piracy poses was evident in the trauma of captive seafarers and their families.
Speaking at the meet, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Chairman of maritime company DP World, said that piracy is a matter of grave international concern.
"It is shocking that, even as we are gathered here, pirates are holding more than 200 seafarers captive, in often appalling conditions," he said.
Sulayem said that for the fifth year running the busiest sea-borne trade route in the world, the Gulf of Aden and the western Indian Ocean region, continues to be held to ransom by a relatively small but aggressive group of pirates.
"... Our goal of comprehensive, sustainable solutions to maritime piracy remains to be achieved. The good news is, for the first time in five years attacks on merchant shipping in the waters off Somalia are down," he said.
He said compared to 176 incidents in 2011, there have been around 30 in the six months of this year, and the pirates' success rate has been halved from 28 per cent in 2009 to 14 per cent last year.