Somali Lawmakers Reject Anti-Piracy Bill

January 20, 2011 Updated: January 20, 2011

Somali lawmakers have rebuffed a bill that would make piracy illegal.

Some of the lawmakers argue that the pirates are heroes instead of villains as they keep foreign fishing vessels out of Somalia, according to the BBC.

Many Somali pirates claim to be former fisherman who took up arms to fight off big foreign fishing fleets in Somali waters.

Somalia has been in deep turmoil and essentially lawless for two decades, making it easy for foreign corporations to engage in illegal fishing.

One lawmaker told AFP that it’s not necessary to ban piracy since “the pirates are also fighting the foreign ships that are plundering our fish and other marine resources.”

The Somali parliament has until Sunday to redraft the bill.

According to the International Maritime Bureau’s global piracy report published earlier this week, piracy off the coast of Somalia accounted for 92 percent of all illegal ship seizures last year.

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