IMB urges vigilance off the Somalia coast
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
As the monsoon season in the north-western Indian Ocean starts subsiding
and the weather once again becomes conducive to the operation of small
pirate skiffs, the ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has urged
ship masters not to be complacent when transiting the Arabian Sea and
the Gulf of Aden.
It has called for vessels to remain alert and apply Best Management
Practices (BMP), including its reporting requirements, when transiting
Overall this year, attacks in this maritime area have fallen to 10, a
trend attributed to the vital action of naval vessels engaged in
anti-piracy operations, compliance with the BMP and the use of
professional security teams on board.
Ashore in Somalia, the government in Mogadishu, which has been in power
for the last 12 months, has provided a stabilising influence – something
that has been missing for decades.
“Naval forces continue to play a key role in the response against piracy
in this area from the collection of intelligence on identification and
disarming of suspected pirate vessels before they pose a threat to
ships. It is vital they remain until the situation improves ashore so
that piracy is no longer a viable option for the criminals,” IMB
director Pottengal Mukundan said.
“Although attacks off Somalia have fallen we should not forget the
desperate plight of the 64 crew currently held in Somalia, 38 of whom
have been there for over two years,” he added.
The call to remain vigilant follows a bold statement by a senior
researcher from the Institute for Security Studies in South Africa that
piracy will always remain a threat and can never be conquered.
Johan Potgieter told the recent Land Forces Africa conference he believes piracy can only be managed, never eradicated.
He said 92% of global trade, 70% of crude oil and 90% of African trade is seaborne.
According to him the maritime domain is under great pressure being
misused, exploited and destroyed. Maritime threats include terrorism,
piracy, pollution, oil theft, overfishing and smuggling.