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    International meet to tackle piracy issue

    New Delhi: There has been no breakthrough so far to free the seven Indian sailors held hostage on MV Asphalt Venture. After the UN security council's resolution on piracy, more global efforts are on to tackle the piracy menace.

    Govt and business leaders from over 50 countries are meeting in Dubai on
    Monday to firm up measures against piracy. This will be the first high-level public-private counter piracy meet where the widespread threat of piracy and collaborative means to eradicate it will be discussed.

    Co-convened by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and global marine terminal operator DP World, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE's Foreign Minister and Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Chairman, DP World, will inaugurate the two-day conference.

    Under the theme 'Global Challenge, Regional Responses: Forging A Common Approach to Maritime Piracy', the summit will be attended by more than 30 foreign ministers, senior representatives from a further 25 countries, the United Nations, the International Maritime Organisation, industry leaders and experts on maritime security and community development issues.

    According to the International Maritime Bureau, as of April 14, 2011 and despite a heightened level of international response, there were at least 107 incidents of attacks or attempted attacks on commercial cargo ships in the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea and off the east African coast - with 17 vessels hijacked.

    At least 26 ships are currently under pirate control, together with 532 mariners held captive, many in appalling conditions.

    Sunil Puri, a member with the OMCI Ship management, said that the ranson has been paid, but pirates have made no new demands to them so far - the vessel with 8 members has been released but they are still holding 7 Indian sailors.

    With PTI inputs.