Monday, February 14, 2011

IMO spells out action needed to tackle piracy

Failure to implement fully the IMO guidance, including the industry-developed best management practices, significantly increases the risk of successful pirate attacks, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) said in a robust message to its Member States, following the launch on 3 February 2011 of IMO’s anti-piracy action plan, in support of the 2011 World Maritime Day theme: “Piracy: orchestrating the response”.

In a circular letter (No.3164, 14 February 2011), all IMO Members, the United Nations and specialized agencies, intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations in consultative status are informed that naval forces operating in the region off the coast of Somalia have reported that an unacceptably high proportion of the ships transiting the Gulf of Aden and western Indian Ocean  are not registered with the Maritime Security Centre Horn of Africa; are not reporting to United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) Dubai; show no visible deterrent measures and are not acting upon the navigational warnings to shipping promulgating details of pirate attacks and suspect vessels.
In drawing attention to the increased risk of successful pirate attack due to failure to implement fully the best management practice guidance, IMO strongly urges “all those concerned, particularly Administrations, industry representative bodies, seafarer associations, shipowners and companies to take action to ensure that ships’ masters receive updated information unfailingly and that all the recommended preventive, evasive and defensive measures are fully and effectively implemented”. “Regrettably, there is disturbing evidence to show that, in too many cases, this advice has either not reached shipping companies or their ships or has not been acted upon,” the circular letter says.
The letter also encourages Member Governments (together with their endeavours at other fora and associations) to make greater efforts to provide the additional naval and aerial surveillance and other resources needed through every means possible.
The letter also invites Administrations to provide long range identification and tracking of ships (LRIT) information to security forces operating in the Gulf of Aden and the western Indian Ocean.  An information distribution facility (IDF) has been established to assist security forces operating in the Gulf of Aden and the Western Indian Ocean to build a more accurate picture of where the merchant ships are, in order to provide more timely warnings of pirate activity and to facilitate more effective repression of piracy and armed robbery against ships through the more effective deployment of the limited available naval and military resources.

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