Piracy focus for World Maritime Day
by Gill Montia
Story link: Piracy focus for World Maritime Day
World Maritime Day, celebrated today, chose “Piracy: orchestrating the response” as its focus, the theme having been proposed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to highlight the challenges of modern-day piracy.
According to IMO secretary general, Efthimios E Mitropoulos, the United Nations, governments, military forces, shipping companies, ship operators and ships’ crews, all have a crucial part to play in ridding the world of piracy in the Indian Ocean.
Shipping companies need to vigorously apply IMO guidance and best management practices to mitigate risk, but the secretary general admitted that no ship is invulnerable to piracy, in particular vessels with relatively low freeboards and slow steaming speeds.
Governments, on the other hand, need to back their “oft-stated concerns” over piracy by deploying military and other resources that can match the scale of the problem in both numbers and technology.
Concluding his message, Mr Mitropoulos said: “More needs to be done, including the capture, prosecution and punishment of all those involved in piracy; the tracing of ransom money; and the confiscation of proceeds of crime derived from hijacked ships, if the ultimate goal of consigning piracy to the realms of history is to be achieved.”
This week has also seen the launch of a worldwide charity aimed at supporting the victims of piracy.
So far this year there have been more than 186 attacks by Somali pirates and Maritime Piracy: a Humanitarian Response is a cross-industry programme offering support to those left traumatised by such events.
Pirate violence towards seafarers is increasing and insurance broker, Willis, recently observed that past successes have attracted a new, more aggressive, generation of practitioners who are now using commercial vessels as floating bases to launch attack skiffs, to resupply pirate attack groups, and carry out hijackings.