Good Morning Distinguished Delegates,
I am pleased to welcome you to IMO’s Headquarters in London, for the third session of WG 5 of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS), the second one to be held at IMO.
IMO is actively participating in the work of all CGPCS Working Groups and we are committed to co-operating also in the work of WG 5 in its study on how to follow the money trail and other evidence to pinpoint the organizers and financiers of piracy. Like many of the other Working Groups, you bring together a broad base of expertise, such as international organizations, industry and the law enforcement sectors, and your task will be to gain the best possible ideas relating to the problem and then find tangible ways to deal with it. IMO has recently undertaken to work more closely to assist the emerging Regional Anti-Piracy Prosecution and Intelligence Centre (RAPPIC) being established in the Seychelles, in order to gain regional traction through established links and partnerships within the Djibouti Code of Conduct.
IMO places high expectations on the results that can be achieved in your work on financial flows and other means to prosecute pirate ‘chiefs’ and those that support them financially. The work of tracking the financial flow is a fundamental part of eradicating piracy off the coast of Somalia, because without the financial income, piracy cannot survive.
Thus, I would like to commend the work of Working Group 5 since its establishment and its mandate to focusing on the flow of finance linked to piracy off the coast of Somalia. Your work is very important and, although you are the latest of the Working Groups established within the CGPCS, you have a task that is as vital as those established previously.
I would like to take this opportunity to briefly refer to the 3 IMO recently-organized counter-piracy related meetings here at HQ in London, which are of some relevance to this working group:
1. The Djibouti Code of Conduct ministerial review meeting was held on 14 May this year at this Headquarters building of IMO with a view to ensuring its continued relevance and reviewing its future direction. It confirmed that some good progress has been made in its implementation. Some gaps were identified, which, therefore, we will focus on in future namely sustainable development in Somalia and the protection of shipping lanes in the high risk area of the southwest Indian Ocean. On Friday last week, Mozambique signed the Djibouti Code of Conduct becoming the 20th signatory State. This is important in view of protection of shipping lanes in the Mozambique Channel.
2. The Capacity-building Conference to counter piracy off the coast of Somalia was held on 15 May. The Conference shared information on work already done by the relevant UN entities and international and regional organizations in capacity building in the region; and culminated in the signing of five strategic partnerships between IMO and FAO, UNODC, UNPOS, WFP and the EU as the basis for our future co-operation in the capacity-building work in under the Djibouti Code of Conduct; and
3. The high-level segment of the Maritime Safety Committee was held on 16 May. The need for guidance for private maritime security companies (PMSCs) for the deployment of privately contracted armed security personnel (PCASPs) on board ships was discussed. As a result, the MSC finalized interim guidance; and the Committee re-confirmed that the ultimate responsibility of permitting arms on board lies with the flag State of the vessel concerned, but also recognized that further work is necessary on an international standard for private maritime security companies and the privately contracted armed security personnel.
The outcome of all 3 meetings provides a firm basis for the way forward in our continued counter-piracy work, both on the regulatory as well as capacity building side.
IMO will, therefore, redouble its efforts in continuing with its capacity-building programme in the region. Capacity building in Somalia and neighbouring countries will be enhanced through co operation between and among IMO and the UN, UN specialized agencies and other relevant international organizations such as the EU, building on IMO’s existing capacity-building activities under the Djibouti Code of Conduct.
Distinguished delegates, we must not forget the seafarers currently held hostage by pirates. It is imperative that they are released and returned safe to their families. Our efforts in this respect must therefore not be diminished.
Tracing and eradicating piracy financial systems are important parts of our efforts to fight against piracy off the coast of Somalia and I wish you a fruitful and successful meeting and look forward to its conclusions.