Somalis stand firm on the protection
of the 200nm EEZ, while IMO Renews Calls in Fight Against "Piracy"
Africa: IMO Renews Calls in Fight Against Piracy.
Mugadishu, Saturday, 22 December -
2007 [Radio Simba]
As acts of piracy continue to threaten shipping, it's time for
governments to conclude regional agreements on the menace.
Delays in the conclusion of regional agreements and
non-cooperation of member countries with the International
Maritime Organisation (IMO) are to blame for piracy and robbery
against ships on international waters.
The IMO has renewed calls for action against the nagging menace,
especially off the Coast of Somalia , which has been without a
central government since 1991.
In a resolution passed by the 25th session of IMO, Governments in
the region must co-operate with the organisation besides
concluding a regional agreement to prevent, deter and suppress
The resolution also places considerable emphasis on the need for
co-operation, communication and the sharing of information, as key
elements in tackling the problem.
The assembly adopted the resolution on November 29.
Picking the cue, the Port Management Association of Eastern Africa
and Southern Africa (PMAESA) has come out in support of action.
PMAESA secretary general, Mr Jerome Ntibarekerwa says the
coastline needs a maritime component of the Africa Standby Force.
In the latest PMAESA newsletter, Our Ports, Ntibarekerwa calls for
bilateral and multilateral engagement in the form of continued
conferences, exercises and joint operations.
"Those opportunities will help foster good relations, share and
standardise best practices and develop information and
intelligence regimes," he says.
Earlier this year, some ship operators in Mombasa suggested that
the Government provide armed escorts to commercial ships plying
between Mombasa port and Somali waters.
The demands followed the capture of Mombasa-based vessels by
Somali pirates as they delivered relief food for the UN World Food
Programme (WFP) in the war-ravaged country.
However, Transport minister, Mr Chirau Ali Mwakwere, ruled out
such an arrangement, citing international conventions to which
Kenya is a party.
In February, Kenya , Tanzania , Mozambique and the Transitional
Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia proposed the formation of a
Joint Task Force to conduct anti-piracy and collective reporting
The new resolution appeals directly to TFG to, among other things,
"take any action necessary to prevent and suppress acts of piracy
and armed robbery against ships originating from within Somalia
and to ensure that its coastline cannot be used as a safe haven
from which attacks can be launched."
Significantly, the resolution asks TFG to advise the UN Security
Council that, in response to a previous request from the IMO
Council, it consents to warships or military aircraft entering its
territorial sea, when engaging in operations against pirates or
suspected pirates and armed robbers.
Last week, a leading sailors' welfare organisation, the Seafarers
Assistance Programme (SAP), supported the United Nations Security
Council decision to address the piracy menace in the region.
In the IMO resolution, governments will issue specific advice and
guidance on any appropriate additional precautionary measures
necessary to protect ships from attack, when sailing off the coast
of Somalia and what they should do if attacked.
Moreover, ships are encouraged to ensure that information on
attempted attacks is promptly conveyed to the nearby coastal
States and to the nearest, most appropriate rescue and
coordination centre and governments are asked to bring such
information to the attention of IMO.
Governments are further requested to instruct their rescue and
coordination centres to transmit relevant advice and warnings on
reported attacks through the World-Wide Navigation Warning
Service, the International SafetyNet Service or other means to
warn ships in the immediate area, the resolution notes.
Each country should provide a point of contact through which ships
may request advice or assistance and to which such ships can
report any security concerns on peculiar movements or
communications in the area, the resolution adds.
Investigation of all acts or attempted acts of piracy and robbery
is actively encouraged and governments are requested to report any
pertinent information to IMO.
It also urges them to take all necessary legislative, judicial and
law enforcement actions to ensure they are able to receive and
prosecute or extradite suspected pirates and robbers
Meanwhile SAP national co-coordinator, Mr Andrew Mwangura, has
warned fishing vessels to keep away from Somali waters. Apart from
being in danger, the presence of such vessels in Somalia was
largely illegal and contrary to the UN Convention on Law of the
He said the ill-fated vessel and her 16 crew members comprised two
Taiwanese, two Filipinos and 12 Chinese were hijacked by Somali
gunmen on April 18 this year while on a fishing expedition in
Somali fishing grounds.
The ship and crew were released after Taiwanese ship-owners paid a