IMO and the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) organized a workshop in Mogadishu, Somalia, from 25 to 27 August 2019, aiming to finalize the much-awaited Somalia Shipping Code with the hope that it will be enacted in parliament.
Kenya has been chosen to chair the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia for two years starting on January 2020. Kenya will now be able to coordinate regional and international efforts to address piracy which remains a danger to the Maritime sector.
On 21 April, suspected pirates seized a fishing dhow off the coast of Somalia, holding 23 people hostage. In a few hours, the European Union’s counter-piracy force EU NAVFOR Somalia Operation Atalanta had responded to the attack. Two days later, the incident had ended, with Operation Atalanta detaining five suspects and releasing the 23 hostages.
On 21 April, fishing vessels FV Adria and FV Txori Argi were attacked by suspected pirates in the Indian Ocean, 280 NM off the coast of Somalia, EU NAVFOR reported. The piracy attacks were thwarted, and the crew and vessels remained safe, due to the implementation of Best Management Practices protection measures by the Masters, the crews and the private security teams on both fishing vessels.
Somalia is to give offshore blocks to oil companies that are interested, as part of its first offshore licensing round. However, due to maritime territorial dispute between Somalia and Kenya its offshore oil production goals could be risked. Thus, Reuters reported that Kenya ordered its ambassador back home from Somalia, after the Mogadishu government’s decision to auction oil and gas exploration blocks in the Indian Ocean.
A report published by Stable Seas shows how complex issues like illegal fishing, coastal violence, and human trafficking create an insecure maritime environment in Somali waters. Regional conflicts have changed human migration flows, accelerating the smuggling of trafficked persons and arms.
Shipping giant, Maersk Line, will begin serving to Somalia’s Mogadishu Port. Mogadishu Port is a key for Somalia’s international trade. However, the port did not provide a specific date as to when the operations will begin. The port hopes that this will lead other companies as well to work with Somalia.
According to BBC’s Anne Soy, foreign navy powers have played a crucial role in handling piracy off Somalia’s coast. Somali territorial waters saw a rise in smuggling, illegal fishing by foreign trawlers, illegal dumping and later piracy. But 10 years ago, the European Union, Nato and others began to deploy naval forces to the region shortly after the UN Security Council allowed warships to enter Somali territorial waters. Pirate attacks have now all but stopped, after reaching a peak in 2011.
MV Petra I was transiting Somali territorial waters when she met with EU NAVFOR’s forces. EU NAVFOR Operation Atalanta has its core business to support World Food Programme vessels and it is its main goal to ensure their safety on their humanitarian mission.
The IMB Piracy Reporting Centre reported a total of 156 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships in the first nine months of 2018 compared to 121 for the same period in 2017. No vessels were reported as hijacked in the third quarter of 2018, marking the first time since 1994 when no vessel hijackings have been reported in two consecutive quarters.
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