In the context of the recently-released Indian ship M/V Asphalt Venture, IMO reiterates its condemnation of all acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships and expresses its concern over the treatment of seafarers being held hostage by pirates operating in waters off the coast of Somalia. In particular, it condemns their use as “human shields” on board recently hijacked ships used as “motherships”, or ashore.
The M/V Asphalt Venture was hijacked by Somali pirates on 29 September 2010 and was released on 15 April 2011. However, six officers and one rating had been removed from the ship and, at the time of release, were being held at an undisclosed location ashore, where they remain.
IMO is concerned for the welfare of all innocent seafarers being held in captivity, and is working towards their timely release.
Using seafarers as human shields to continue to engage in piracy - one of the most heinous of crimes against humanity at sea - is totally unacceptable.
The IMO World Maritime Day theme for 2011, “Piracy: orchestrating the response” – and its associated action plan - embrace the concept that the safety and well-being of seafarers should be of paramount importance.
IMO therefore supports the “SOS - Save our Seafarers” campaign (www.saveourseafarers.com
) recently launched by the shipping industry.
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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