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Fight Against Piracy Not Over, Say Shipping Associations

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

21 January 2013

A collection of leading shipping associations have joined the International Maritime Organization in hailing the recent, substantial reduction in the number of piracy attacks, particularly off Somalia. They warned however that ship owners must not become complacent, and that they must continue to implement agreed prevention measures.

Figures released by the IMO late last year showed during the first nine months of 2012, there were 70 Somali attacks compared with 199 for the corresponding period in 2011. From July 2012 to September 2012, just one ship reported an attempted attack by Somali pirates, compared with 36 incidents in the same three months in 2011

The IMO attributed the decrease to a combination of factors, including: the presence of naval forces disrupting pirate operations; the implementation of self-protection measures on board merchant ships and better situational awareness of where the threats are; and more effective action ashore in Somalia by the Somali authorities and the international community.

In a joint statement, the associations - the International Chamber of Shipping, BIMCO, the Oil Companies International Marine Forum, the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners, the International Association of Dry Cargo Shipowners, the International Parcel Tankers Association and the International Shipping Federation, said:

"[We] remain convinced that the only long-term solution to piracy is to establish effective government and implement the rule of law ashore in Somalia. However, until that is achieved, there can be no room for complacency. Any reduction in the level of protection of merchant ships could lead to a resurgence of pirate activities. Piracy must continue to be suppressed through the visible presence of and robust action by, the world's navies, consistent with international law."

"[We] therefore urge shipowners, shipping companies, ship operators, masters and crews to continue to take all appropriate and recommended measures to protect their ships and those on board from pirates and armed robbers, through sustained and full implementation of the relevant IMO guidance and industry-developed Best Management Practices for protection against Somalia-based piracy (BMP 4)."

TAGS: marine

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