On Feb. 24, The Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), Efthimios E. Mitropoulos, opened the first meeting of a Working Group charged with considering modalities for operational coordination and information-sharing, the possible establishment of a regional coordination centre and regional capability development, in the context of on-going efforts by navies to protect international shipping from acts of piracy and armed robbery in the waters off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden.
Set up by the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) - itself established in January 2009 following the adoption of United Nations Security Council resolution 1851 on 16 December 2008 - the Working Group has been convened and coordinated by the United Kingdom and is being chaired by Mr. Chris Holtby of the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
The Working Group is meeting at IMO Headquarters in London (24 to 25 February 2009) and will be followed by the first meeting of another CGPCS Working Group (26 to 27 February 2009), convened and coordinated by the United States of America, which will address the strengthening of shipping's self-awareness and other capabilities. It will be chaired by Mr. Jeff Lantz of the United States Coast Guard.
Both Working Groups will report to the second session of the CGPCS, which is scheduled to be held in Egypt next month.