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Extra £6m spent on anti-piracy bid

The UK is to devote an extra £6 million to anti-piracy efforts in the Indian Ocean, including building more prison places in Somalia, Foreign Secretary William Hague said.

Hundreds of hostages are being held on captured vessels in the region amid escalating sea-based criminal activity estimated to cost the global economy up to £7.6 billion a year.

Most of the cash injection - £5.3 million - will be spent through the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) on helping Somalia, Kenya and the Seychelles prosecute offenders.

The Foreign Office said it would help ensure suspected pirates got a fair trial and were locked up in cells that met international standards.

Another £600,000 will pay for better cameras for the Seychelles coastguard's surveillance aircraft to help them collate higher-quality evidence for court cases and bigger fuel tanks to allow longer missions as the pirates are forced to operate further out at sea.

Mr Hague said: "There are currently around 820 Somali pirates either serving sentences or awaiting trial around the world.

"I am pleased that the UK's new support to counter-piracy efforts in the Indian Ocean will aid the location, capture and detention of pirates across the region.

"I applaud the efforts of UNODC to improve the conditions of prisons to international standards and the leading role the government of Seychelles is playing in tackling the scourge of piracy in the Indian Ocean."

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