IMO Policy on Repressing of Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in the Western Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden (Horn of Africa region) Foreword: piracy in the Horn of Africa The United Nations (UN) and in particular the International Maritime Organization (IMO) have assertively tackled piracy since 2006.1 This effort is a response to the escalation of violence and the expansion of Somali piracy in the Horn of Africa, where, since 2004, ships, seafarers and property are constantly threatened by acts of piracy. Pirates are menacing shipping traffic close to vital choke points (Suez Canal, Hormuz Strait), disrupting freedom of navigation and the free movement of goods by sea, as well as ...view middle of the document...
As a result, a robust package of recommendations, “best practice management” rules (BMPs), guidance and regulations followed (see Bibliography and Reference, as well as appendix 2), in order to strengthen and coordinate maritime and international community reaction against Somali pirates. Furthermore, during the last decade, a number of regional roundtables and meetings (attended especially by Horn of Africa countries representatives) have been organized by IMO, with the purpose of nurturing a common awareness of the problem of piracy. In the meanwhile, several IMO missions into Horn of Africa countries contributed to, assessed and evaluated local counter-piracy capabilities. Through this “capacity building” effort, IMO has aimed at putting into practice the signature of local agreements concerning the establishment of counter-piracy procedures. In particular, in January 2009, regional States under IMO guidance have signed a significant agreement. The Djibouti Code of Conduct concerning the Repression of Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in the Western Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden is aimed at overcoming the growing phenomena of Somali piracy in the Horn of Africa. The parties agreed on collaborating to the maximum extent within the current framework of international laws, aiming at eradicating piracy from the region. Furthermore, within the wider international and maritime arena, IMO policy effort is focused on encouraging Governments to increment their contribution in term of military
The first UN SC Resolution against Somali piracy has been the UN SC Res.1816 (2008).
assets to be deployed against piracy, whilst pressure is also brought to bear on the shipping industry in order to be fully compliant with BMPs. Overall IMO policy implementation timeline is detailed in appendix 1. Rationales IMO counter-piracy policy is underpinned by an articulated set of rationales: two stands apart for their significance. In primis, Somali piracy is posing a threat to seafarers. The human cost of piracy, in term of physical and psychological arms to kidnapped seafarers, is impressive. Episodes of violence against seafarers, not only during attacks but also during detention, are more and more frequent: brutalization of hostages is also becoming a routine. Therefore, IMO policy is aiming at reducing the success rate of pirate attacks, thus the number of hostages kidnapped, through the wider implementation by shipping industry of self defense measures and BMPs, which would increment the safety of seafarers sailing the Horn of Africa seas. Secondly, IMO policy is aimed at safeguarding the freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce in the Horn of Africa. Developing regional agreements on implementation of counter-piracy measures and underpinning the establishment of a more robust legal basis for prosecuting pirates (both at an international and domestic level), IMO...