Indian Ocean Piracy:
a UN arms embargo, arms transfer to
has increased dramatically over the last eight months through
smuggling and shipments from
dealers, brokers and transporters from many countries especially
United Arab Emirates
, the Balkans and
– have played a role.
supply of weapons and ammunition to Somali warlords have been
instrumental in atrocities amounting to war, crimes against
humanity and seafarers,
have already lost their lives during 15 years of conflict in
men are still raping, looting, killing civilians, and hijacking
ocean-going vessels – as arms deliveries continue.
a million Somalis are in dire need of food aid.
insecurity in some parts of
– including sea piracy that saw two ships carrying food aid
hijacked in June and October 2005 make efforts to dispense food
and other aid extremely difficult.
upon the UN Security Council to renew and strengthen the UN
embargo on arms exports to
ask UN to impose embargo on charcoal exports and foreign fishing
waters, for it is the source of revenue for warlords to buy arms.
call for an Arms Trade Treaty to strictly control the transfer of
all conventional arms and prevent them being used for grave human
piracy like Terrorisms is not a matter of concern to one country
or a group of countries- it is a global issue that affects us all
and we should spare no efforts to ensure that, together we build a
robust and resilient defence.
the war broke- out in
, armed pirates in speed boats and gun boats have robbed or
hijacked ocean-going vessels transiting via
Gulf of Aden
, Socrotra and Somali coast.
Seafarers have been seriously injured or killed along the Somali
INDIAN OCEAN PIRACY:
Since the war broke-out in Somalia, ships transiting via
coast are strongly advised to be extra cautious, vigilant and
maintain anti piracy watches.
Armed pirates in speedboats and gunboats open fire on ships and
yachts and rob or hijack them.
Some crew-members have been seriously injured or killed along the
Somali territorial waters. Somali Fishing Communities have also
suffered a heavy loss of life, fishing gear and environmental
damage due to illegal fishing and hazardous waste.
Participation in the sectional supremacy wars in Somali, dumping
of toxic waste, illegal fishing and unfair distribution of WFP
Food Aid has put many Kenyan Seafarers at risk.
Last year (2004) Kenyan crew of a
based fishing vessel came back home with spent bullet cartridges
fired at their vessel by Militia-men as they went about fishing
illegally in Somali waters.
Owing to the volatile situation in
the owners of the fishing vessels have been forced to seal deals
with warlords to protect their crew. When the deal between the
fishing tycoons and warlords is sealed the latter provides
artillery with a Somali operator to be assisted by
crew as they guard the fishing vessel from attacks.
The artillery is mounted on the ship deck for attacking and
stopping other Warlords ships in the vicinity from sailing to fish
in such lucrative grounds.
This is also for attacking or defending the ship against
speedboats of other warlords who are engaged in sea piracy or
hijacking for ransom business. Illegal fishing, toxic dumping,
under-table deals of Mombasa Ship-owners are contributing to armed
conflicts in Sudan, Somalia, Northern Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda and
the Democratic Republic of Congo.
There have been reports from time to time of dumping of
radioactive wastes, hospital wastes, heavy metals like lead and
cadmium, chemical wastes and leather treatment wastes.
The issue of hazardous waste in
dates back to the early 1990s, when foreign companies taking
advantages of the lack of government dumped unknown quantities of
It costs about US$ 2.50 a ton to get rid of waste in Africa,
whereas to dispose off the same waste in
costs more like US$ 250 a ton.
In order to tackle the hostage taking menace along Somali waters
there is an urgent need for the United Nations, Africa Union and
the Government of Kenya to crackdown on all ocean-going vessels
operating illegally in
It hurts to note that presently there are about 800 foreign
flagged fishing vessels fishing illegally along Somali waters.
There is also a dozen of long-liners and about 400 foreign
licensed and un-licensed commercial fishing vessels operating
illegally the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of
Many more Kenyan seafarers have been held for months in captivity
after their vessels were hijacked by militiamen, forcing the
ship-owners to seal deals with warlords to protect the crew.
The recent hostage taking of 10 crew-men of MV Miltzow brings to
about 207 Kenyan Merchant Mariners and Fishers held
in a span of 15 years.
This is the 8th time for a Kenyan owned Merchant vessel
being held captive in
. Other Kenyan owned Merchant ships held captive in
in the said period includes M.V. Angel, M.V. Bonsela, M.V. Alpha
,MV Torgelow, MV Semlow, MV Idun and MV Miltzow.
Normally the gunmen attack fishing vessels fishing illegally
in the Somali waters contrary to United Nations Convention on Law
of the Sea (UNCLOS). Mombasa based fishing vessels held captive in
Somalia in the said period includes: Bahari Kenya, Bahari Hindi,
Bahari Kubwa, Aeron, Beira 3, Beira 9, Marine VII, Gorizont I and
The capture of Miltzow in October, 2005 brings to a total of eight
(8) Kenyan Merchants Ships (9) nine fishing vessels and about 207
Kenyan Seafarers held captive in
in a span of 15 years.
Piracy is a universally condemned crime. Under traditional
maritime law and maritime law conventions such as the 1958
Convention on the High Seas and the United Nations Convention on
the Law of the sea, pirates have no refuge.
Every country in the world has a duty to suppress piracy, and any
country in the world can arrest and prosecute pirates.
The legal definition of piracy that allows for universal
prosecution includes some acts that might not be thought of as
piracy and excludes some acts that might be assumed to be piracy,
by its legal definition it is an act of violence, detention or
Piracy does not require theft. It must be committed by the crew or
passengers of one private vessel against another private vessel.
Pirates must attack from another vessel. The crime must be
committed for private ends.
Politically motivated crimes are not piracy. The crime must occur
on the high seas.
Crimes occurring within a country’s 12 mile territorial sea or
its internal waters are not piracy.
The international law definition is important for the purpose of
allowing any country to prosecute pirates.
Acts of violence, detention or depredation are usually crimes
under flag state law and the territory in which they
In such cases the flag state and port state would have
jurisdiction to prosecute the crime.
In this regard we call upon the government of
, Transitional Federal Government of Somalia and the International
Community to take appropriate action into this matter.
The spate of piracy attacks in Somali needs appropriate action in
the region to combat the menace.
Transitional Federal Government of Somalia cannot tackle the
There is an urgent need to set up a mechanism of close
co-operation and support with the International Community.
Improving maritime security requires the active support, in the
spirit of ship’s crew and, perhaps more importantly, ports
authorities and shore-based personnel.
We should aim for an environment that motivates all parties to
government and the shipping industry must guard against
complacency on security in port and at sea.
The introduction of the International Ship and Port Facility
Security Code (ISPS) must not let us make the mistake of resting
on our laurels and assuring the work has been completed.
The risks are too high to allow for any hint of complacency and
must make sure that high levels of vigilance and awareness are
maintained and built upon until they become second nature
throughout the shipping and port industries.
Terrorism is not a matter of concern to one country or a group of
countries – it is a global issue that affects us all and we
should spare no effort to ensure that, together, we build a robust
and resilient defence.
The level of violence used in pirate attacks appears to be getting
worse despite a decline in the overall number of incidents.
The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) which monitors piracy has
reported that pirate attacks on merchant ships in the first
quarter of 2005 have dropped to the lowest level in five years.
The most recent IMB report indicates that 30 seafarers were killed,
51 injured, 186 taken hostage and 21 missing in the first nine
months of last year.
The number of deaths compares with 20 in the same period of 2003.
Half occurred in
waters, where gangs using automatic weapons have been targeting
merchant, fishing and passenger vessels.
The figure is probably higher, as ship-owners often prefer to pay
up to ransom their crew and keep quiet about it. Other attacks in
Africa have been reported at locations including Takoradi
, at anchorage in
, and along Angolan territorial waters.
Piracy is an act of boarding or attempting to board any vessel
with the intent to commit theft or any other crime and with the
intent or capability to use force in the furtherance of that act.
SEAFARERS ASSISTANCE PROGRAM