Within the context of IMO’s World Maritime Day theme “Piracy: orchestrating the response”, a meeting took place yesterday (28 February 2011) at the Organization’s headquarters. Invited to the meeting were representatives of countries that participate in the anti-piracy campaign off the coast of Somalia by making available naval assets and military aircraft. It was also attended by representatives of the shipping industry.
The meeting focused on the third objective of the IMO Action Plan launched in early February, namely “to promote greater levels of support from, and co-ordination, with navies” In this respect, appreciation was expressed to the commanding officers, officers and crews of the vessels deployed to protect shipping off the coast of Somalia and to their Governments for dispatching them there and bearing the considerable costs of their doing so.
The meeting discussed matters pertaining to better co-ordination among, and optimal deployment of, naval vessels operating in the Gulf of Aden and in the Western Indian Ocean area as well as the legal basis of their operation for maximum efficiency.
The general view was that the resources currently made available are insufficient to provide the levels of protection for merchant shipping required to cover the vast Indian Ocean region and that increased political awareness and engagement are required for a proportionate response to the challenges faced if seafarers, the transportation of vital humanitarian aid to Somalia and the Gulf of Aden as a vital shipping lane are to be adequately protected.
The meeting considered necessary that:
- regulators and industry should continue their work to create the necessary framework for effective action to stem the scourge of piracy off the coast of Somalia;
- Governments should show that their political will is translated into resources being made available to match the level of their political ambition;
- ships transiting piracy-infested areas should comply with the recommended best management practice guidance and measures; and
- navies should continue their efforts to support, deter, intervene, arrest and forward pirates to be tried.
IMO – the International Maritime Organization – is the United Nations specialized agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships.
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