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ICS calls for action over ongoing piracy in Gulf of Aden

London: The International Chamber of Shipping has expressed grave concern over the continuing incidence of attacks against shipping in the Gulf of Aden by pirates operating from lawless Somalia.

Two days ago a South Korean vessel was seized for ransom, the 49th vessel to be attacked off Somalia this year and the 20th to be hijacked. As many as 11 ships are now being held by pirates. Malaysian carrier MISC has already ceased sending ships through the Gulf of Aden after two of its vessels were hijacked last month.

At the prompting of the IMO, the UN Security Council has already given a mandate to a US-led coalition of naval forces, specifically set up to combat terrorism in the region, to take action against the pirates. However, this action has so far proved ineffective, noted the ICS Executive Committee at a meeting this week. It concluded that the underlying problem was that many of the military forces have not been given clear instructions or 'rules of engagement' by their governments, 'presumably due to a lack of political will'.  

The ICS is therefore asking its national shipowner association members to draw attention to this unacceptable threat to merchant shipping and the lives of seafarers by briefing mainstream media in their countries on the problem. It also urges members to take up the issue with their defence and foreign affairs ministries, 'in order to put as much pressure as possible on governments to allow their military forces to fulfil the existing UN mandate'.  [12/09/08]

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