Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Maritime Day To Target Piracy Of International Shipping

IMO Unanimously Approve Proposal
Shipping News Feature

WORLDWIDE - Following a proposal by International Maritime Organization (IMO) Secretary-General Efthimios E. Mitropoulos, the IMO Council has unanimously approved that next year's World Maritime Day (WMD) theme should be "Piracy: orchestrating the response". WMD is always held in the last week of September, this years theme being “Year of the Seafarer”.

We have illustrated previously the rising tide of objections to the scourge of piracy which seems to continue unabated. Readers are reminded they still have the opportunity to sign the international petition launched recently which will be handed over at this years WMD, 23rd September. Details and a link to the petition can be found HERE.

The Secretary-General identified five objectives that IMO and the international maritime community should pursue in promoting the 2011 WMD theme. The IMO’s response seems both dedicated to attacking the symptoms and eradicating the results of piracy whilst dealing with the root causes of the problem which they admit continues to be endemic not only around the Horn of Africa, but in other parts of the world as well, despite the many and varied efforts to contain, if not eliminate, it.

The five objectives mentioned by Mr Mitropoulos are:

* secure the release of hostages by calling the world’s attention to the unacceptable plight of all those being held by pirates – seafarers, in the main – and, by so doing, create a worldwide demand for action that would eventually set them free.

* strengthen the protection of persons, ships and cargoes by constantly improving guidance to the industry; promoting even greater levels of support from navies; and providing care for those attacked or hijacked by pirates.

* ensure compliance with adopted measures by making certain that merchant vessels are aware of how to access the available naval protection, and that they are implementing the recommended preventative, evasive and defensive measures effectively.

* promote co-operation between and among States, regions and organizations in reducing the risk of attacks on innocent ships through information-sharing; coordination of military and civil efforts; and regional initiatives, such as the Djibouti Code of Conduct.

* build up the capacity of affected States to deter, interdict and bring to justice those who commit acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships, thereby enhancing maritime law enforcement and the safety of life at sea. And, while so doing, help tackle the root causes of piracy through the provision of assistance to States for the development of their maritime capacities and the protection of their maritime resources. And, in the case of Somalia, to contribute, in any way possible, to the country moving to a state of stability that will, in due course, have a beneficial impact on the state at sea.

As the IMO is the specialist agency of the United Nations with the remit for security of shipping worldwide it is to be hoped that the organisation will use all its influence to bring about changes, particularly within Somali society, to ensure this sea borne cancer can be eliminated. Whilst many seafarers are seeking a more robust response to the pirates the problem will only be completely eliminated when the extreme poverty in the region has been dealt with.