Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Anti Piracy Purge Continues at London Conference to Protect Shipping

South Africa Joins Other Regional Nations to Stamp Out Hijackings
Shipping News Feature

LONDON – SOMALIA – WORLDWIDE – The constant battle against the scourge of piracy requires true international cooperation and as the world at large becomes increasingly aware of the horrors inflicted on the helpless victims of the continued attacks the International Maritime Organization (IMO) yesterday held a Conference on Capacity Building to Counter Piracy off the Coast of Somalia which produced one particularly tangible result.

Whilst attending the event His Excellency Dr. Zola Skweyiya, South African High Commissioner signed the Djibouti Code of Conduct concerning the Repression of Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in the Western Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden meaning South Africa has become the 19th state to agree to develop regional capacity to counter piracy in the area.

The Djibouti Code of Conduct, which has been in effect since 29 January 2009, is aimed at the investigation, arrest and prosecution of persons reasonably suspected of having committed or assisted in acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships, the rescuing and rehabilitation of hostages and recovery of vessels and cargo and full cooperation between signatories to achieve these aims. Full details regarding the implementation of the Djibouti Code of Conduct can be seen HERE.

Signatories to the Code also undertake to review their national legislation with a view to ensuring that there are laws in place to criminalize piracy and armed robbery against ships and to make adequate provision for the exercise of jurisdiction, conduct of investigations and prosecution of alleged offenders. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has issued a document which gives a snapshot of the number of pirates and suspected hijackers currently held in custody around the world which can be seen HERE.

With the acceptance of the Code of Conduct by South Africa the full list of other signatories now includes: the Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Jordan, Kenya, Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritius, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Somalia, the Sudan, the United Arab Emirates, the United Republic of Tanzania and Yemen.

Photo: South African High Commissioner, His Excellency Dr. Zola Skweyiya signs the Djibouti Code of Conduct at IMO Headquarters watched by IMO Secretary-General Koji Sekimizu and South Africa's Alternate Permanent Representative, Theophilus Ntuli.