Defence written question – answered on 30th March 2009.

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Photo of Claire Curtis-Thomas Claire Curtis-Thomas Labour, Crosby

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what protocols govern the seizure of suspected pirate ships and their equipment by British armed forces.

Photo of Bob Ainsworth Bob Ainsworth The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence

Royal Navy vessels participating in counter-piracy operations are provided with detailed rules of engagement (ROE) setting out the measures they may take in relation to pirate vessels, including the seizure of suspected pirate vessels and equipment. These ROE are in accordance with international law, including the United Nations convention on the law of the sea (UNCLOS), and are kept under regular review.

I am withholding details of ROE as their release would be likely to prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of our armed forces.

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