UN maritime agency urges action to curb piracy off coast of Somalia
The United Nations International Maritime Organization (IMO) today renewed its call for measures to prevent and suppress acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships off the coast of Somalia.
Piracy jeopardizes the delivery of much-needed aid to Somalia, which is facing a deteriorating humanitarian situation.
Some 80 per cent of food assistance from the UN World Food Programme (WFP) for the country moves by sea, and pirate attacks threaten to cut the main supply route, threatening the delivery of rations for the 1.2 million people WFP expects to be feeding by the end of 2007 as drought, floods and factional fighting take their toll.
In a new resolution, the IMO appeals directly to Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG), which, backed by Ethiopian forces, dislodged the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) from Mogadishu, the capital, and much of the rest of the country at the end of last year.
The agency calls for the TFG to take any action it deems necessary to prevent and suppress piracy and armed robbery against ships originating from within the East African nation, and to ensure that attacks are not launched from the country's coastline.
In addition, the resolution appeals to the TFG to ensure that all ships seized by pirates and armed robbers are released promptly, and that ships off the Somali coast do not become victims to such acts.
Today's resolution also urges the TFG to advise the UN Security Council that - in response to a previous IMO request - it consents to warships or military aircraft entering Somalia's territorial sea when operations against pirates are underway.
Due to the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the country, it also asks the TFG to notify the Council that it is prepared to negotiate to allow warships or military aircraft to escort WFP ships to deliver much-needed aid or leave Somali ports after unloading their cargo.
IMO's resolution - passed by the agency's Assembly, its governing body -underscored the need for cooperation, communication and information-sharing, and called on all governments in the area to conclude a regional agreement, in collaboration with IMO, to prevent, deter and suppress piracy and armed robbery against ships.