Piracy Top on Agenda in Maritime Meeting

Monday, November 14, 2005
The Standard has reported that the International Maritime Organization (IMO) secretariat has drafted a resolution to tackle piracy along the Somali coastline. The resolution to fight sea pirates, who pose a threat to shipping in the Indian Ocean will be tabled at the IMO bi-annual council meeting next Monday in London. Kenya will lead a delegation to the meeting where it will submit its concerns over the attacks off the Somali coast, which threaten to mar cruise tourism in the region. In the Kenyan delegation are Transport PS Dr Gerishon Ikiara and Kenya Ports Authority managing director, Brown Ondego. KPA Chief Operations Manager, Captain Twalib Khamis, said the attacks were a major concern to the country. Among the issues to be tabled include asking the United Nations to position an international force that will safeguard the waters. According to Ondego, five cruise vessels, which are expected to call to Mombasa Port between this month and January next year have expressed security concerns over the Somali incident. Separately, the national co-ordinator of the Seafarers Assistance Programme, Mr Andrew Mwangura, welcomed the decision by IMO to draft a resolution to address the Somali pirate crisis. Mwangura said SAP was investigating reports that pirates were using a mother ship to carry out the attacks. Mwangura said the UN should impose an embargo on the export of charcoal and fish products from Somalia. The UN should urgently impose an embargo on the export of charcoal and fish from Somalia because these have been used to finance pirates. A ship can pay as much as $150,000 to pirates to be allowed to fish in Somalia, he said. Mwangura said the embargo may lead to the stabilisation of the National Transitional Government of Somalia. Mwangura said the mother ship was spotted on July 27 and November 5 when the cruise ship destined to Mombasa was attacked.

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