Following a proposal by IMO Secretary-General Efthimios E. Mitropoulos, the IMO Council has unanimously approved that next year's World Maritime Day (WMD) theme should be "Piracy: orchestrating the response".
In presenting the proposal, the Secretary-General said that piracy continues to be an endemic problem for the international community, not only around the Horn of Africa but in other parts of the world as well, despite the many and varied efforts to contain, if not eradicate, it.
These efforts notwithstanding, he added, much work remains to be done if the ultimate goal of consigning piracy to the realms of history is to be achieved.
The Secretary-General identified five objectives that IMO and the international maritime community should pursue in promoting the 2011 WMD theme, namely:
- secure the release of hostages by calling the world’s attention to the unacceptable plight of all those being held by pirates – seafarers, in the main – and, by so doing, create a worldwide demand for action that would eventually set them free;
- strengthen the protection of persons, ships and cargoes by constantly improving guidance to the industry; promoting even greater levels of support from navies; and providing care for those attacked or hijacked by pirates;
- ensure compliance with adopted measures by making certain that merchant vessels are aware of how to access the available naval protection, and that they are implementing the recommended preventative, evasive and defensive measures effectively;
- promote co-operation between and among States, regions and organizations in reducing the risk of attacks on innocent ships through information-sharing; coordination of military and civil efforts; and regional initiatives, such as the Djibouti Code of Conduct; and
- build up the capacity of affected States to deter, interdict and bring to justice those who commit acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships, thereby enhancing maritime law enforcement and the safety of life at sea. And, while so doing, help tackle the root causes of piracy through the provision of assistance to States for the development of their maritime capacities and the protection of their maritime resources. And, in the case of Somalia, to contribute, in any way possible, to the country moving to a state of stability that will, in due course, have a beneficial impact on the state at sea.
The choice of the theme for next year is intended to allow IMO not only to play its part by intensifying its efforts to meet the challenges of eradicating the scourge of piracy worldwide but, more importantly, to orchestrate the right response, among all concerned, to achieve the set objectives.
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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