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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Shippers and Gulf of Aden Piracy

Report from Maritime Global Net:
SEVEN major global shipping industry bodies - International Chamber of Shipping, International Shipping Federation, BIMCO, Intercargo, Intertanko, InterManager, International Transport Workers’ Federation – has sent an open letter to all governments urging action over piracy in the Gulf of Aden. The call on all governments, “individually, and collectively through the United Nations, to do everything in their power to counter the state of lawlessness and to restore safety of navigation in the Gulf of Aden”.
The industry bodies stress: “These waters are strategically important for world trade; safe and unhindered passage of innocent merchant ships is essential if the needs of the nations and peoples of the world are to be safeguarded. The freedom to navigate safely on the high seas is an abiding principle of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the situation that pertains today is one of the most serious challenges to this principle to have arisen in recent years.”
“It is our view that immediate and decisive action is required to strike at the very heart of the armed and organised gangs that appear to be operating in the region almost with impunity. The practical and legal difficulties facing the crews of the few warships currently deployed into the area are understood only too well and it is for this reason that the following actions are identified as essential short term steps toward a lasting solution.

1. Governments are urged to commit sufficient numbers of warships, military aircraft and surveillance assets to the region and to coordinate their command and control under the auspices of a United Nations mandate,

2. The existing UN Security Council resolutions 1816 and 1838 must be enhanced with a further resolution with more explicit text on action required against the criminal gangs and with a time frame adequate to reaching a final solution,

3. Of equal importance is the need to establish a legal jurisdiction to bring arrested criminals to justice and subsequent punishment. In this regard States are particularly urged to review and amend national legislation to include such due process, noting their obligations under the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation, 1988 (SUA Convention).
More on the SUA Convention here:
Among the unlawful acts covered by the SUA Convention in Article 3 are the seizure of ships by force; acts of violence against persons on board ships; and the placing of devices on board a ship which are likely to destroy or damage it.

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