Effective compliance with BMP and military intervention are also needed
Recent press reports might give the impression that the level of piracy off Somalia is decreasing, but the capability of the pirates is actually higher than it has ever been.
However, ICS believes that effective compliance with Best Management Practices by shipping, and sustained military intervention with a more aggressive stance, has reduced the pirates’ rate of success. However, the current situation remains totally unacceptable, with about 200 seafarers still being held hostage in the most appalling conditions, and thousands more still having to transit the danger area in constant fear of their lives.
ICS is working to ensure that the problem of piracy retains sufficient political and public attention so that the crisis might be properly and decisively addressed during the year ahead. The ICS Board has identified three immediate objectives.
- First is the need to persuade governments to task the military to take the attack direct to the pirates, while at the same time continuing to defend merchant ships in the best way possible.
- Second, every apprehended pirate should be arrested, taken to a court of law and, if found guilty, imprisoned.
- Third, governments must break the financial chain through legal action against criminal financiers investing in piracy wherever in the world they are identified.
ICS national shipowners’ associations lobbied their governments hard on these points in advance of the international conference on Somalia hosted by the United Kingdom on 23 February.