The UAE's call for a global policy action on combating piracy comes in line with the maritime-piracy symposium that will be held in Dubai on June 27-28. The idea is to enhance public-private partnerships and strengthen global engagement to tackle the problem, commented a local daily. "Piracy has become a scourge for sailors, ship owners and companies. It is time for all the stakeholders to come together and spread understanding on the issue and map out the challenges of response," Gulf News said in its today's editorial. For governments and those involved in the maritime industry, the time has come for concerted action, particularly against pirates operating off the coast of Somalia, the paper added. There has been a spate of hijackings off the coast of Oman this year where, at last count, Somali pirates held 27 ships and more than 600 people as hostages. "There is a financial cost to this menace. If piracy is not checked then the cost of goods coming into GCC countries may go up significantly as shipping companies pass on a 300-fold increase in emergency premiums per voyage across pirate-infested waters. GCC countries are dependent on daily shipments of perishable goods and the consumer ultimately bears the financial cost of this problem, which could soon include the rising cost of ransom," read the editorial. The UAE has adopted a hard line policy against pirates. It is actually the only country in the GCC to rescue a hijacked ship without any damage to property or human life. With piracy creeping closer to the Gulf countries it is time for neighbouring nations to recognise the danger and adopt a firm, joint course of action, the paper recommended.