Somali Piracy: INTERTANKO Calls for More Aggressive Approach

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Given the global strategic importance of keeping the international shipping lanes through the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean open, INTERTANKO calls on governments to step up their involvement and make it more effective.

The tanker industry appreciates the efforts of the naval forces, that have been protecting international shipping in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean from Somali-based pirates, for their involvement and support, and acknowledges their impressive record in reducing successful pirate attacks in the Gulf of Aden in particular. In parallel, many ship owners, ship managers and seafarers have also been making sacrifices and commitments to keep the world’s energy and chemical trades flowing.

However the effectiveness of this work is being diminished by the inability to bring pirates to justice and to prevent them from returning to operation after capture and release, and by the recent extension of piratical activity far into the Indian Ocean.

Reflecting what INTERTANKO’s Chairman Capt Graham Westgarth recently called “a significant degree of frustration,” the Association’s Members are therefore now urging Governments to step up their involvement and commit to the maintaining of international sea lanes with concerted efforts to find real and workable solutions to enable them to fight piracy more aggressively and effectively by:
•    increasing naval and other appropriate military support, and by adjusting their rules of engagement for naval forces - rules which should be robust enough to tackle piracy head-on;
•    ensuring effective powers are granted and are in place to arrest, detain and bring to justice all those who operate on the high seas outside the law.

The tanker shipping industry, oil, gas and chemical, keeps world trade flowing through this vital artery which connects East and Middle East with West. Governments will be well aware of the dramatic and economically damaging impact on global trade if the world’s ship owners and seafarers were to conclude that they can no longer safely trade their vessels through this region.

Recognizing the need for stronger action, renewed focus and new initiatives, INTERTANKO has also joined with others in the international shipping industry to support a global e-petition demanding action, whereby it is intended to deliver at least half a million signatures to the IMO and to governments by mid September this year.

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