The IMO always had as an integral part of its mandate the duty to make travel and transport by sea as safe as possible. Concern about unlawful acts which threaten the safety of ships and the security of their passengers and crews grew during the early 1980s, with reports of crews being kidnapped, ships being hi-jacked, deliberately run aground or blown up by explosives. Passengers were threatened and sometimes killed.
As a result IMO developed in the 1980s and 1990s a number of guidelines and recommendations on measures to prevent unlawful acts against passengers and crew on board ships; on preventing and suppressing acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships; and on the prevention and suppression of the smuggling of drugs, psychotropic substances and precursor chemicals on ships engaged in international maritime traffic. In addition the work of IMO lead to the adoption of the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation, 1988 and the Protocol for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Fixed Platforms Located on the Continental Shelf, 1988.
In December 2002, work undertaken by IMO led to the adoption of amendments the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974 (SOLAS Convention) and the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS Code). Chapter XI-2 of the SOLAS Convention (SOLAS chapter XI-2) and the ISPS Code together stipulate a variety of mandatory measures aimed at enhancing the security of ships engaged on international voyages and the port facilities which serve them. They address all facets of security and are not limited to preventing or suppressing acts of terrorism.
IMO has been working with our Member Governments for a number of decades to suppress piracy and armed robbery against ships and has demonstrated considerable success, particularly in the Asia Pacific Region. Most recently the Organization has focussed efforts on working collaboratively to counter piracy in waters impacted by Somalia-based piracy.