IMO Sub-regional meeting on maritime security, piracy and armed robbery against ships for Western Indian Ocean, Gulf of Aden and Red Sea States, held in Djibouti in January 2009
In January 2009, an important regional agreement was adopted in Djibouti by States in the region, at a high-level meeting convened by IMO. The Code of Conduct concerning the Repression of Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in the Western Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden recognizes the extent of the problem of piracy and armed robbery against ships in the region and, in it, the signatories declare their intention to co operate to the fullest possible extent, and in a manner consistent with international law, in the repression of piracy and armed robbery against ships.
The signatories commit themselves towards sharing and reporting relevant information through a system of national focal points and information centres; interdicting ships suspected of engaging in acts of piracy or armed robbery against ships; ensuring that persons committing or attempting to commit acts of piracy or armed robbery against ships are apprehended and prosecuted; and facilitating proper care, treatment, and repatriation for seafarers, fishermen, other shipboard personnel and passengers subject to acts of piracy or armed robbery against ships, particularly those who have been subjected to violence.
Implementation of the Djibouti Code of Conduct will help to:
- improve communications between States;
- enhance the capabilities of States in the region to deter, arrest and prosecute pirates;
- improve States' maritime situational awareness; and
- enhance the capabilities of local coast guards.
IMO has also revised the guidance on measures to take to deter piracy, to include region-specific guidance based on industry best management practice.
IMO is also seeking additional support from States able to provide warships and maritime patrol aircraft for the Gulf of Aden and Western Indian Ocean area and is focusing on bringing the recently opened Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres in Mombasa and Dar es Salaam into the counter piracy role.
In the longer term, IMO is seeking to promote international action to stabilize the situation in Somalia through the UN Security Council, the UN Political Office for Somalia, the UN Development Programme, the Contact Group on Piracy off Somalia, and others.
In the case of the situation off Somalia, developments ashore are probably the only way to resolve this problem in the long term.
In the meantime, it is essential to maintain support from States able to provide warships and maritime patrol aircraft until the political situation is resolved.