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Shipping bodies draw up anti-piracy wish list

London: Leading groups in the shipping industry have banded together to set out a list of recommendations for the fight against piracy. The International Chamber of Shipping, BIMCO, Intercargo, Intertanko, the International Group of P&I Clubs, the International Transport Workers' Federation, International Parcel Tankers Association, and OCIMF praise the adoption of Resolution 1844 by the Security Council and recommend "the adoption of a United Nations force structure" to maximise the use and effect of warships patrolling the pirate infested Gulf of Aden.

They have also made the following recommendations ahead of the expiration of UN SCR 1816:
1.   A reaffirmation of the principles of UNCLOS part VII, which establishes the freedom of navigation on the high seas.  It is this freedom that is threatened in an extraordinary way by the state of lawlessness in the Gulf of Aden and which threatens all innocent ships regardless of their flag.     

2.   The empowerment of military forces to use 'all available means' to repress piracy.     

3.   Ensuring that warships are tasked with the freedom to board all shipping in order to verify engagement in acts of piracy and to seize and dispose of piracy equipment, weapons and any proceeds of piracy. Indeed governments are urged to order their warships to adopt this posture with immediate effect.     

4.    Urgently establishing a legal jurisdiction to prosecute those arrested on a charge of piracy, there must be a determined effort to eradicate this problem once and for all.  This is a problem that only governments acting within existing international law can solve and it is our plea that they take immediate steps to protect seafarers in their place of work.  Truly coordinated international action is the only mechanism likely to bring any lasting relief to this troubled area.  

Additionally, the industry bodies have appealed to States bordering Somalia to consider accepting arrested criminals for trial, if they have not already done so. "It is to be recalled that some 290 seafarers are still being held under duress for ransom," the statement says. "As there is no mechanism for securing their release other than through the payment of ransom demands, this sorry process appears to be enhancing the attractiveness of a criminal career in Somalia as well as increasing the capability of the armed criminal gangs."  [27/11/08]

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