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GAO updates progress on counter-piracy

March 16, 2011

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Washington – Despite evidence of escalating violence from pirates near the Horn of Africa, recommendations for counter-piracy activities have not been implemented by the U.S. government, according to a Government Accountability Office report (.pdf file) released March 15.

GAO investigators said since 2007, Somali pirates have attacked 640 ships and taken more than 3,150 hostages. A few U.S-flagged vessels have been affected – most recently a private yacht in February; four Americans were killed. GAO made no new recommendations in the March report, but recalled previously made recommendations in a September 2010 report (.pdf file) that advised the National Security Council to update its Action Plan (.pdf file), assess the costs and effectiveness of U.S. counter-piracy activities, and clarify agency roles and responsibilities. According to GAO, a National Security Council official said the United States is reviewing its piracy policy to focus on future U.S. efforts.

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