Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has paid tribute to all those who serve on the front lines of the battle against piracy off the coast of Somalia, while stressing that this scourge will not be defeated by military means alone.
“We will find a solution only by addressing the broader political and security situation,” Mr. Ban said in a video message to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Bravery Awards in London, stressing the need to support the “fragile” transitional Government in Somalia.
He noted that in recent years, pirates operating from Somalia have been hijacking ships in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean and holding their crews and cargo for ransom.
However, thanks to the resolve of the IMO and the Security Council, the international community has done much to discourage such acts, he said.
The Secretary-General noted that since the start of the international naval escort system in the western Indian Ocean two years ago, not a single ship heading to Somalia with UN World Food Programme (WFP) aid has been attacked.
“WFP has been able to scale up its operations, providing much-needed food assistance to nearly 3 million people,” he pointed out.
Mr. Ban stated that all States have a duty to cooperate in the repression of piracy, as set out in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, adding that several Security Council resolutions now provide a firm basis for enhanced action in this arena.