The international community should strengthen its coordination and cooperation on the Somali piracy issue, a Chinese diplomat said on Wednesday."The issue of piracy off the Somali coast has always posed a serious threat to stability and development of the region as well as safety and security of international shipping," said Wang Min, China's deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, when addressing the 12th Plenary Meeting of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia.
NATO’s counter-piracy commander said the threat from Somali pirates is receding, but also warned that the international community must maintain vigilance to wipe out the problem.
The Asian Shipowners’ Forum has offered a detailed proposal calling for the United Nations-sanctioned armed personnel to guard ships transiting high-risk areas in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean.The proposal was made to Working Group 1 of the Contact Group for Piracy off the Coast of Somalia in London on July 12. Versions of the plan have been in the works since last year.
The increased use of armed guards on merchant ships plying the seas off the Horn of Africa has helped sharply reduce the number of successful attacks by Somali pirates. The latest report by the London-based International Maritime Bureau (IMB) says 177 incidents were logged by its Piracy Reporting Centre in the first six months of this year, compared with 266 in the same period in 2011.
President Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed, left, has shielded a top pirate leader from arrest by issuing him a diplomatic passport, according to a United Nations inquiry, which criticizes the "climate of impunity" enjoyed by pirate kingpins in Somalia and abroad.
The number of pirate attacks have fallen sharply in the first half of 2012, led by a drop in Somali piracy, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) global piracy report revealed today, but warned that these numbers were offset by a worrying increase of attacks in the Gulf of Guinea.
In the last couple of years, merchant shipping has witnessed the introduction of armed guards on ships, especially those transiting the high risk areas affected by Somalian piracy. The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and various national governments advised the shipping community to follow ‘best management practices’.
During the reporting period of 04 to 10 July 2012 there have been no piracy incidents in the region. Activity in recent weeks shows that pirate activity can still take place during the South-West Monsoon and that pirates are operating closer to shore to avoid severe conditions further out to sea. PAGs (Pirate Attack Groups) will likely continue to focus their efforts in the Northern Arabian Sea (NAS), Gulf of Oman (GOO) as well as in the Gulf of Aden (GOA), Southern Red Sea (SRS), and coastal waters.
A group of 31 Somali judges and prosecutors will travel to the UAE in October for training in holding piracy trials. The workshops are part of a UAE-French initiative to equip the Somali judicial system to try its own piracy cases, rather than relying on other nations to prosecute them.
War-torn Somalia, with its worsening modern-day piracy problems and the growth of Islamic terrorist group Al Shabaab in the country, remains to be a major global security threat and will continue to hold the global maritime industry hostage unless the international community helps this once prosperous African nation, said state leaders who convened in Dubai for the 2nd UAE Counter-Piracy Conference.