UN approves piracy land pursuit
The United Nations Security Council has unanimously approved a US resolution allowing countries to pursue Somali pirates on land as well as at sea.
It is an extension of the powers countries already have to enter Somali waters to chase pirates.
Countries will need the permission of the transitional Somali government.
It comes after two vessels were seized by suspected Somali pirates off the coast of Yemen, adding to the dozens of ships hijacked in the area this year.
It is the fourth resolution approved by the council since June to combat piracy off Somalia's coast.
It gives authority for one year for countries to use "all necessary measures" by land or air to stop anyone using Somali territory to plan, help or carry out acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea.
The US-drafted resolution was co-sponsored by Belgium, France, Greece, Liberia and South Korea.
Indonesia, which also suffers from piracy, was among critics of the plan as it feared the precedent it could set for chasing pirates on land.
However, it voted in favour of the resolution.
UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband, who attended the Security Council meeting, said: "This is an important additional tool to combat those who plan, facilitate or undertake acts of piracy from the territory of Somalia.
"The UK considers that any use of force must be both necessary and proportionate."
One of the vessels seized on Tuesday was an Indonesian tugboat contracted to French oil company Total, a Total spokesman said.
It was heading from Yemen to Malaysia when it was attacked.
A Turkish cargo ship, MV Bosphorus Prodigy, owned by Isko Marine Company, was also captured, a US Fifth Fleet spokesman said.
The container ship is 330ft (100m) long and carries the flag of Antigua-Barbuda.
The tugboat had mainly Indonesian crew, the Total spokesman said.
The latest seizures came as the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime called for more policing of the seas off Somalia, and for arrested pirates to be tried in the country that the arresting officers come from.
The executive director of the office, Antonio Maria Costa, said: "Pirates cannot be keelhauled or forced to walk the plank, nor should they be dumped off the Somali coast.
"They need to be brought to justice."