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IMO Hosts Further Round Of Talks On Piracy

by Philip Morton, Investors Offshore.com

13 February 2009


A high-level meeting of 17 States from the Western Indian Ocean, Gulf of Aden and Red Sea areas, was convened by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in Djibouti to help address the problem of piracy and armed robbery against ships off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden.

The group adopted a Code of Conduct concerning the Repression of Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in the Western Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden.

The meeting, which was opened on January 26, 2009, by IMO Secretary-General Efthimios E. Mitropoulos and the Prime Minister of Djibouti, Dileita Mohamed Dileita, was attended by Ministers, Ambassadors, senior officials and legal experts from Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Jordan, Kenya, Madagascar, Maldives, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, the United Republic of Tanzania and Yemen, as well as observers from other IMO Member States; United Nations specialized agencies and bodies; and international and regional inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations.

The Code of Conduct recognizes the extent of the problem of piracy and armed robbery against ships in the region and, in it, the signatories have declared their intention to co-operate fully and consistently with international law in the repression of piracy and armed robbery against ships.

Additionally, participants intend to fully co-operate in the arrest, investigation and prosecution of persons who have committed piracy or are reasonably suspected of having committed piracy; seize suspect ships and the property on board such ships; and rescue ships, persons, and property subject to acts of piracy.

These acts would be consistent with international law.

The Code of Conduct also covers the possibilities of shared operations; such as nominating law enforcement or other authorized officials to embark in the patrol ships or aircraft of another signatory.

Subsequently, the Code of Conduct further calls for the setting up of national focal points for piracy and armed robbery against ships and the sharing of information relating to incidents reported.

IMO Secretary-General Efthimios E. Mitropoulos applauded the adoption of the Code of Conduct, describing it as significant milestone.

However, despite this, the Secretary stressed that, while the agreed contribution of the States in the region was hugely important, the long-term solution to the problem still lay onshore, within Somalia itself.


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