Monday, 20 February 2012

House of Lords recognises work of The Mission to Seafarers

As well as my previous comments on Shelterbox in the recent House of Commons Somalia debate, I thought you might also like to know that the great work of The Mission to Seafarers with victims of piracy was recognised by the Government in the House of Lords in a debate last week on Somalia.

During the debate, the Government's Foreign Office representative in the Lords, Lord Howell of Guildford, was asked by the Bishop of Gloucester whether he was aware of the work of MtS and if he would "consider engaging with MtS to develop a model of support for families of hostage victims?"

Lord Howell said that his suggestion seemed 'an excellent initiative and idea, and something that [the Government] will consider most carefully'. He went on to say that a Royal Navy ship will be deployed to the Combined Maritime Taskforce throughout 2012 as well as 'provide the operational commander and headquarters for the EU's counter-piracy operation'.

Piracy off the coast of Somalia has been high on Parliament's agenda in recent weeks following the publication by the Foreign Affairs Select Committee which looked into the problem. It reported that the Government was right to permit armed guards on British-flagged vessels, but noted that further work needs to be providing clear legal direction as to the use of weapons.

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