Delegations in Security Council Note Progress in Combating Piracy, but Warn ‘Pirates Will Quickly Be Back in Their Skiffs’ if Attention Diverted
Delegations in Security Council Note Progress in Combating Piracy, but Warn ‘Pirates Will Quickly Be Back in Their Skiffs’ if Attention Diverted
|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
6865th Meeting (AM & PM)
Delegations in Security Council Note Progress in Combating Piracy, but Warn
‘Pirates Will Quickly Be Back in Their Skiffs’ if Attention Diverted
Deputy Secretary-General Briefs, Statement Condemns
Violent Nature of Crime, Urges Action to Deter, Disrupt Attacks
Acknowledging that international cooperation had helped bring about a sharp reduction in attacks at sea, the Security Council stressed the need for comprehensive action to eradicate piracy and condemned in the strongest terms hostage-taking and the increased violence employed in the crime, during an open meeting that heard from more than 40 speakers today.
“The Security Council welcomes the fact that effective counter-piracy measures through increased national, bilateral and multilateral initiatives as well as regional cooperative mechanisms have led to a substantial reduction in the number of successful piracy-related attacks in different regions, and recognizes the need for continuing efforts with these counter-piracy measures, as these gains are reversible,” the Council said through a statement read out by its November President, Hardeep Singh Puri of India.
In that context, the Council invited all States, along with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and other relevant international organizations, to adopt or recommend measures to prevent maritime hijackings, as well as to protect seafarer victims of piracy and to assist them after their release. As part of the requisite comprehensive approach, it affirmed that coordination of regional efforts was primary, but also noted the need for international assistance for such efforts, as well as capacity-building for security and criminal justice sectors of the countries involved and stepped-up information-sharing between all partners.
Directing specific remarks to piracy off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Guinea, on the former region it commended the extensive national and multilateral efforts of the past few years to combat the crime. Underlining the primary responsibility of Somali authorities in the matter, it requested them, with assistance from the Secretary-General and the United Nations, to pass a complete set of counter-piracy laws without further delay and to declare an exclusive economic zone in accordance with the Convention on the Law of the Sea.
On the Gulf of Guinea, the statement welcomed initiatives already taken by States and regional organizations and encouraged international partners to provide support, particularly for regional patrols and operations. Worldwide, it encouraged flag States and port States to further consider the development of safety and security measures on board vessels, including regulations for the deployment of privately contracted armed security personnel.
“Combating piracy requires a multidimensional approach,” Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson told the Council as he introduced the Secretary-General’s report on piracy at the start of the meeting (see Background). Needed immediately in that regard, he added, was better coordination between all actors, stronger capacity to prosecute piracy cases and imprison convicts in accordance with international human rights standards, and the establishment of a framework governing the use of private security personnel. He pledged the continued commitment of the United Nations to help consolidate international assistance for the comprehensive response he agreed was needed.
On Somalia, he said that the new Government had made an impressive start as part of the effort to stabilize the country through a Somali-owned process, but it had to be supported to provide the security and peace dividends that Somalis deserved. A comprehensive maritime security and economic strategy with a proper legal framework was still needed, as was the proclamation of the exclusive economic zone.
The response in the Gulf of Guinea, he said, could rely on lessons learned from Somalia — even if the situation was different in each region — including a focus on modernizing counter-piracy laws, strengthening capacities for maritime law enforcement and crime investigation, supporting regional networks and increasing knowledge sharing. He stressed that hostages in all areas endured the most horrendous conditions, and he welcomed the approval of a project by the piracy trust fund board, which was chaired by the Department of Political Affairs, to provide medical care, accommodation, food and clothes to hostages during the release phase and aid to help them return home swiftly.
Following that presentation, most speakers agreed that piracy still represented a threat to international peace and security. Dissenting from that view, the representative of Argentina said that unless a situation had engendered Council action under Chapter VII for other reasons, such as the situation in Somalia, piracy was not under the competence of the body; it was, rather under the framework of the Convention on the Law of the Sea.
All speakers agreed, however, that piracy threatened the economies of developing countries, and must be tackled through coordination of regional initiatives and international support, in a comprehensive manner that included capacity-building for regional judicial systems in order to prosecute suspects. Many spoke of the need to support development and consolidation of peace in Somalia.
Many speakers also underlined the need for assistance to victims, regulations for private security contracts and declaration of a maritime economic zone for Somalia, and some stressed that all Council action should be consistent with existing international law. All emphasized the need to avoid complacency. “Should Governments turn their attention elsewhere and should the vigilance of seafarers and the shipping companies wane, the pirates will quickly be back in their skiffs,” the representative of Denmark warned.
Also speaking today were the representatives of the United States, Russian Federation, France, Germany, United Kingdom, Togo, Portugal, South Africa, Pakistan, China, Colombia, Azerbaijan, Guatemala, Morocco, India, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Egypt, Luxembourg, Estonia, Italy, Republic of Korea, Japan, Ukraine, Lithuania, Iran (on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement), Malaysia, United Republic of Tanzania, Thailand, Israel, Viet Nam, Singapore, Panama, United Arab Emirates, New Zealand, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Norway, Somalia and Nigeria.
The Deputy Head of the European Union delegation also spoke.
The meeting was opened at 10:08 a.m., suspended at 12:00 p.m., resumed at 3:07 p.m. and adjourned at 6:03 p.m.
The full text of presidential statement S/PRST/2012/24 reads as follows:
“The Security Council reaffirms its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, and recognizes the primary responsibility of States in the eradication of piracy;
“The Security Council continues to be gravely concerned by the threat that piracy and armed robbery at sea pose to international navigation, the safety of commercial maritime routes, and the security and economic development of States in the regions concerned, as well as to the safety and welfare of seafarers and other persons, including through their being taken as hostages, and the increasing violence employed by pirates and persons involved in piracy and armed robbery at sea. The Security Council condemns in the strongest terms hostage taking and the use of violence against hostages, and calls upon States to also cooperate, as appropriate, to secure the early release of hostages, including through sharing of information and intelligence.
“The Security Council reaffirms its respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and political independence of States concerned.
“The Security Council stresses the need for a comprehensive response by the international community to repress piracy and tackle its underlying causes for a durable eradication of piracy and armed robbery at sea and illegal activities connected therewith.
“The Security Council invites all States, the International Maritime Organization, the International Labour Organization and other relevant international organizations and agencies to adopt or recommend, as appropriate, measures to prevent hijackings, measures to protect the interest and welfare of seafarers who are victims of pirates, both during their captivity through the provision of medical and other humanitarian assistance, as well as after their release from captivity, including their post-incident care and reintegration into society, and in this regard takes note of the proposals for a hostage support program developed by the United Nations — UNPOS and UNODC.
“The Security Council reaffirms that international law, as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982, in particular its articles 100 to 107, sets out the legal framework applicable to combating piracy and armed robbery at sea, as well as other ocean activities and calls upon States to take appropriate steps under their national law to facilitate, in accordance with international law, the apprehension and prosecution of those who are alleged to have committed acts of piracy, including the financing or facilitation of such acts, also taking into account other relevant international instruments consistent with the Convention.
“The Security Council reiterates its call upon States, particularly concerned States, to criminalize piracy under their domestic law and to favourably consider the prosecution of suspected, and imprisonment of convicted pirates and their facilitators and financiers ashore, consistent with applicable international law including international human rights law.
“The Security Council urges States and international organizations, as well as the private sector to share evidence, information and intelligence, as appropriate, for anti-piracy law enforcement purposes, including for ensuring effective prosecution of suspected, and imprisonment of convicted, pirates, and encourages existing and future initiatives in this regard.
“The Security Council welcomes the fact that effective counter-piracy measures through increased national, bilateral and multilateral initiatives as well as regional cooperative mechanisms have led to a substantial reduction in the number of successful piracy-related attacks in different regions, and recognizes the need for continuing efforts with these counter-piracy measures as these gains are reversible as long as the conditions ashore are conducive to pirate activity at sea.
“The Security Council welcomes the commitments made for continued efforts to repress piracy, including efforts by bilateral donors and regional and international organisations to strengthen the capacity of the relevant States to counter piracy and armed robbery at sea including through prosecution of those responsible for acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea and imprisonment of convicted pirates, and in this connection welcomes the important contribution of the Trust Fund Supporting Initiatives of States Countering Piracy off the Coast of Somalia and the IMO Djibouti Code of Conduct Trust Fund and urges both States and non-state sectors affected by piracy, most notably the international shipping community, to contribute to them. The Council also notes the work of the International Piracy Ransoms Task Force to explore options for dealing with the issue of ransom payments to pirates, recognizing its importance.
“The Security Council stresses that the coordination of efforts at the regional level is necessary for the development of a comprehensive strategy to counter the threat of piracy and armed robbery at sea, in order to enable the prevention and disruption of such criminal activities, and also notes the need for international assistance as part of a comprehensive strategy to support national and regional efforts to assist the Member States undertaking steps to address piracy and armed robbery at sea and the illegal activities connected therewith.
“The Security Council reiterates the urgent need to investigate and prosecute not only suspects captured at sea, but also anyone who incites or intentionally facilitates piracy operations, including key figures of criminal networks involved in piracy who illicitly plan, organize, facilitate, or finance and profit from such attacks.
“The Security Council encourages member States to continue to cooperate with each other in the fight against piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia, underlines the primary responsibility of Somali authorities in the fight against piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia, and requests the Somali authorities, with assistance from the Secretary-General and relevant United Nations entities, to pass a complete set of counter-piracy laws without further delay, and to declare an exclusive economic zone in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
“The Security Council commends the efforts of the European Union operation ATALANTA, North Atlantic Treaty Organization operations Allied Protector and Ocean Shield commanded by NATO member States, Combined Maritime Forces’ Combined Task Force 151 commanded by Denmark, New Zealand, Pakistan, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Turkey, Thailand and the United States, and other States acting in their national capacity in cooperation with Somali authorities and each other, to suppress piracy and to protect vulnerable ships transiting through the waters off the coast of Somalia, and appreciates the efforts of Member States, including China, India, Japan, Malaysia, Republic of Korea and the Russian Federation, which have deployed ships and/or aircraft in the region, as stated in the Secretary General’s report (S/2012/783).
“The Security Council welcomes the initiatives already taken by States and regional organizations, including Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Gulf of Guinea Commission (GGC) and the Maritime Organization for West and Central Africa (MOWCA), to enhance maritime safety and security in the Gulf of Guinea.
“The Security Council also appreciates the efforts of States in the region of the Gulf of Guinea, and encourages international partners to provide support to States and regional organizations for the enhancement of their capabilities to counter piracy and armed robbery at sea in the region, including their maritime capability to conduct regional patrols and operations in accordance with applicable law.
“The Security Council commends the continued efforts of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) to coordinate international efforts in different aspects of the fight against piracy.
“The Security Council appreciates the assistance being provided by the United Nations through the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and UNDP and through other international organizations and donors, in coordination with the CGPCS, to enhance the capacity of the judicial and the corrections systems in Somalia, Kenya, the Republic of Seychelles and other States in the region to prosecute suspected, and imprison convicted pirates consistent with applicable international human rights law and encourages coordination of United Nations actions, including those of its agencies, funds and programmes, in order to improve the effectiveness of international efforts.
“The Security Council emphasizes the importance of promptly reporting incidents to enable accurate information on the scope of the problem of piracy and armed robbery against ships and, in the case of armed robbery against ships, by affected vessels to the coastal State, underlines the importance of effective and timely information-sharing with States potentially affected by incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships, and takes note of the important role of the International Maritime Organization in this regard.
“The Security Council notes the adoption by the International Maritime Organization of guidelines to assist in the investigation of the crimes of piracy and armed robbery against ships, revised interim guidance to ship owners, ship operators and shipmasters on the use of privately contracted armed security personnel (PCASP) on board ships in the high risk area, as well as the revised interim recommendations for flag States, port States and coastal States regarding the use of PCASP on board ships in the high risk area, and encourages flag States and port States to further consider the development of safety and security measures onboard vessels, including regulations for the deployment of PCASP on board ships through a consultative process, including through International Maritime Organization and International Standards Organization.
“The Security Council notes the request of some Member States on the need to review the boundaries of the High Risk Area on an objective and transparent basis taking into account actual incidents of piracy, noting that the high risk area is set and defined by the insurance and maritime industry.
“The Security Council takes note of the ongoing cooperation between the International Maritime Organization, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the Division of Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea with respect to the compilation of national legislation on piracy, encourages countries that have not yet provided their legislation to do so, and notes that copies of national legislation received by the Secretariat have been placed on the website of the United Nations.
“The Security Council requests the Secretary-General to include in his relevant reports to the Council the information concerning the implementation of this presidential statement, including any new information and observation, taking into account the work of relevant stakeholders, including regional Organizations, on possible ways to advance international efforts to combat the problem of piracy and armed robbery at sea and associated hostage taking.”
The Security Council had before it the Report of the Secretary-General pursuant to Security Council resolution 2020 (2011) (document S/2012/783), which provides an update on piracy and armed robbery at sea and off the coast of Somalia as well as efforts to counter it since 25 October 2011.
In the report, the Secretary-General says that the joint efforts of the international community and the private sector to counter piracy off the Somali coast have had initial success, with the latest reports from the International Maritime Organization (IMO) showing a sharp decline in attacks in 2012 compared with 2011. In the first nine months of 2012, there were 99 attacks against ships in waters off the coast of Somalia, resulting in the hijacking of 13 ships. The majority of attacks leading to hijacked vessels took place in the western Indian Ocean. This compares with 269 reported attacks and 30 ships hijacked during the same period in 2011. However, piracy continues to pose a serious threat, since 224 seafarers and 17 vessels (including three fishing vessels and eight dhows) were held hostage as at late September 2012. This compares with 339 people and 16 vessels (including four fishing vessels and two dhows) held in September 2011.
For sustainable progress, however, he said that the root causes of piracy must be addressed by building rule of law and livelihood opportunities in Somalia. With the successful end of the political transition in that country, he urged the new Government to develop a comprehensive anti-piracy strategy that included development of skills for earning sustainable incomes, adoption of legislation to allow the prosecution of individuals suspected of piracy and the proclamation of an exclusive economic zone off the Somali coast in accordance with the Convention on the Law of the Sea.
In international efforts, he commended the Contact Group on Piracy on its coordinated international approach. Efforts to gain the release of hostages must continue ceaselessly, he added, as well as efforts to ensure that suspects were brought to justice in accordance with international law. He encouraged the international community to continue to engage with the local communities to assure them that the naval forces were in Somali waters solely to protect shipping and humanitarian supply routes. The first and most effective line of defence against piracy was greater vigilance on the part of the shipping industry, which could be enhanced through international regulations, particularly in regard to deployment of privately contracted armed security personnel onboard vessels, he said.
JAN ELIASSON, Deputy Secretary-General, introduced the Secretary-General’s report and stressed that although it showed a sharp decline in attacks in waters off the coast of Somalia in 2012 compared to 2011, those gains could be easily reversed if the causes were not addressed, including lawlessness on land. Off Somalia, pirates were well organized, hijacking ships and crews to hold them for ransom. In the Gulf of Guinea, piracy was related to the theft of oil and linked to the regional black market, and hostages had also been taken there. Even if the situation varied by region, the response in the Gulf of Guinea and elsewhere could rely on lessons learned from Somalia, including a focus on modernizing counter-piracy laws, strengthening capacities for maritime law enforcement and crime investigation, supporting regional networks and increasing knowledge sharing.
“Combating piracy requires a multidimensional approach”, he said, adding that in Somalia that had meant stabilizing the country through a Somali-owned process. The new President had made an impressive start and the new Government had made a commitment to fight piracy, but significant challenges remained. The Government must be supported to provide the security and peace dividends that Somalis deserved. Somalia needed a comprehensive maritime security and economic strategy with a proper legal framework, including the proclamation of an exclusive economic zone in accordance with the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Success at sea should be translated into progress on land.
The capacity of States to prosecute individuals suspected of piracy and to imprison those found guilty must also be strengthened, he said, adding that the effort must include deterring and suppressing the financing of piracy and the laundering of ransom money. The Counter-Piracy Programme of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) was helping in that regard and ensuring that prison conditions met international standards.
In all such efforts, consensus on a joint response by Member States and international and regional organizations was critical, he said. The Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia now had more than 70 participants with impressive expertise. Those efforts were complemented by other initiatives, such as the Djibouti Code of Conduct under the auspices of the International Maritime Organization and the Regional Anti-Piracy Prosecutions Intelligence Co-ordination Centre established in Seychelles. The United Nations Political Office in Somalia (UNPOS) was coordinating other actors in the region and the Organization’s offices for Central Africa and West Africa were assisting ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) and the countries of Central Africa, as well as the Gulf of Guinea Commission in the preparations for a regional summit on piracy in Cameroon in April 2013. He expressed gratitude for the “robust” counter-terrorism support provided by the naval presence established by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the European Union, the Combined Maritime Task Force and individual Member States.
He said that the shipping industry should be encouraged to take steps to protect itself, as vessels that did not implement security measures made up the overwhelming number of successfully pirated ships. The IMO was working with the industry in that area. The welfare of seafarers themselves must be kept in mind, as hostages endured the most horrendous conditions and were often threatened and tortured in an effort to extract ransom. He supported the administration of the piracy trust fund, chaired by the Department of Political Affairs, for the provision of medical care, accommodation, food and clothes to hostages during the release phase and aid to help them return home swiftly.
The challenges requiring immediate attention, he said in conclusion, included better coordination, information-sharing and trust-building among countries and agencies. Stronger capacity to prosecute piracy cases and imprison convicts in accordance with international human rights standards was also needed promptly, as was the establishment of a framework governing the use of privately contracted armed security personnel on board vessels, with continued involvement of the IMO. He pledged the continued commitment of the United Nations to working with its partners to consolidate international assistance and deliver a comprehensive response to the threat of piracy.
SUSAN RICE ( United States) said while the international community’s efforts to combat piracy, sometimes with private-sector partners, had improved the situation dramatically, kidnappings were still a challenge. She called for the release of those who had been kidnapped, noting that one vessel’s crew had been in captivity for three years. Those that financially supported piracy were responsible for those crimes, she said, adding that the international community could do more, for instance, in Somalia, to work with authorities, including by training officers, building suitable prisons and purchasing law enforcement equipment. Commending the work of organizations, including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which provided assistance to the Somali Government, she also applauded the Kenyan Government’s efforts to combat the scourge. Now Somalia was poised to take greater action to counter piracy, she said, urging the State’s new authorities to pass anti-piracy legislation.
Prevention of pirate attacks was more effective than fighting an attack in progress, she said, emphasizing that naval patrols and applying best management practices had greatly reduced the likelihood of attacks. Armed security on board could also be helpful. The United States had mandated the deployment of best practices on vessels and would continue to work with fellow States on the development of appropriate standards.
VITALY CHURKIN ( Russian Federation) said the increasing acts of piracy threatened economic activities and caused great financial losses, with profits from ransoms fuelling yet more illegal acts. Positive shifts in combating piracy in the Somali region should be bolstered by even more anti-piracy actions on land and sea, with enhanced self-defence measures. Despite successes, Somali piracy and the fragile situation could go awry at any point, he said, emphasizing that many piracy groups had moved to acquire funds from different sources. To help fight piracy, Russia intended to provide naval forces in the Gulf of Aden. The necessary approach included establishing the rule of law, which would result in the effective prosecution of pirates and their accomplices. Without attacking the problem of impunity, it would be impossible to tackle piracy, he said.
Supporting efforts made by countries in the region, he said identifying new figures in the piracy business was critical, and legal measures were needed, such as targeted sanctions against piracy leaders. Concerning Guinea, armed robberies close to the coastline were occurring, he said, hoping that international assistance would help prevent the situation from escalating.
GÉRARD ARAUD ( France) said piracy was a threat to the stability of entire regions and must be attacked as a whole. Efforts by the European Union had already borne fruit, yet the situation was still precarious in, for instance, Somalia, where pirates had perfected their acts and often went unpunished. He urged the new Somali Government to bolster its efforts.
He urged States and organizations to continue to authorize action at sea. Reiterating the importance of combating impunity, he paid tribute to the Seychelles Government, which was working to prosecute individuals in piracy cases. Establishing a new judicial system in Somalia would be another step ahead, and efforts should be enhanced to stop those who supported and sent out the pirates. Targeting them would help, and the Security Council should work to that goal. Strengthening capacities in the region was critical to solidify gains, he said, citing action by the Council and the establishment of coast guards and coastal police as critical. France had encouraged regional States and organizations, particularly the Economic Community of West African States, to deepen their involvement in anti-piracy initiatives.
PETER WITTIG ( Germany) welcomed the progress in fighting piracy, especially off the Somali coast. Still, that continued to pose a serious threat since attacks in other areas, such as off the coast of Guinea, were a problem. Building State capacities and strengthening the rule of law were needed, and the international community should continue its support in that regard. He stressed the need to coordinate the division of labour and the responsibility to protect with the State concerned. He welcomed joint political and military efforts to protect the waters of concerned States and commended actions in the Gulf of Guinea aimed at enhancing maritime safety.
Turning to Somalia, he said that supporting the Trust Fund initiative was most useful, adding that Germany would make a $2 million contribution; he called on others to also provide funds. He also called on ship owners and associations to adopt best management practices. Progress was needed to effectively prosecute the offenders, he said, noting that Somalia’s ongoing challenges in that area required support. Modern piracy remained a considerable challenge, requiring the international community’s continuing assistance.
MARK LYALL GRANT ( United Kingdom) said the Security Council was central to rising to the challenge of piracy off the Somali coast. While efforts made to date had reduced attacks and hijackings, the threat remained serious. The Council also followed developments in other parts of the world, including the rise of attacks in Guinea and South-East Asia. Given that hostages were held and subjected to violent acts, it was vital to break the piracy business model. Piracy should be attacked at sea and on land, and the message should be clear that criminal activities would not go unpunished. To do that, legal and penal capacities must be enhanced.
Stopping pirate ransom payments was also essential, and bringing to justice the beneficiaries was vital, he said. In West Africa, the United Kingdom was helping to develop a maritime trade centre, which would provide information, advice and warnings for ships in West Africa. Piracy was organized crime that thrived in places where the rule of law was weak or had broken down. Now was not the time to be complacent, but to forge ahead with effective programmes.
KOJO MENAN (Togo) concurred that piracy was a true threat to international peace and security. In the Gulf of Guinea, the scourge remained a very worrying reality, given the methods used by pirates to carry out their plans. The Gulf was becoming increasingly dangerous, and attacks were often violent and well-planned. Additionally, there was evidence of links between piracy and other crimes in the area. It had been reported that funds gained were used to finance networks aiming to undermine States. The economic threat was significant, as port revenues were important for all the States concerned.
His country, he said, was therefore engaged in a national capacity-building programme with international assistance, allowing it to repulse an attack on a Panamanian vessel. There had also been progress in creating a regional plan and in organizing a regional summit in Cameroon in 2013. That effort must be supported, as it would result in a truly coordinated regional strategy. He endorsed further development of strategies to gain the speedy release of hostages and to assist their families. An improved judicial framework must also be established, and further international action should include knowledge sharing. The United Nations must play a central role in counter-piracy efforts and projects to protect the maritime environment in that context.
JOSÉ FILIPE MORAES CABRAL (Portugal), acknowledging the severe consequences of piracy as well as the notion that the crime could be interlinked with other criminal activities, said that the Council had a role in monitoring such threats closely, as they impacted international peace and security. He advocated a comprehensive approach that included rule of law transformations and efforts to build the capacity of local judicial systems in the region. Such initiatives must respect the principle of national ownership, and hence, his emphasis was on a central role for the Somali Government, with international assistance as necessary. Regional initiatives were also key. The United Nations should have a central role in coordinating Programme UNDP efforts; the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) also had an important role.
Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea also showed the importance of regional initiatives to counter the scourge, he said. To be effective, all initiatives must be coordinated, while respecting the different roles of different actors. He, therefore, welcomed the holding of a regional summit. Piracy was a complex phenomenon, and the Council’s encouragement of regional and international coordination would remain important.
DOCTOR MASHABANE ( South Africa) expressed his country’s concern about the impact of piracy on the safety of navigation as well as on the political, social, economic, and humanitarian situation of affected States. Piracy off the coast of Somalia, which South Africa believed was “a case sui generis”, must be handled in the context of the peace challenges facing Somalia. It thus demanded holistic solutions. Incidents of piracy had reduced significantly since the recent security and political gains in Somalia, but the new Somali Government needed to be equipped with its own mechanisms to combat piracy on land and sea.
One crucial issue in the search for solutions in Somalia, he added, was the illegal plundering of Somali resources, including the illegal fishing and dumping of waste off the coast. The Secretary-General had reported a lack of information on that, and South Africa hoped that, in accordance with resolution 2020 (2011), those States and organizations with a naval presence in the area would provide the information necessary for the Council to take the matter further. Failing to take decisive action would risk creating the impression that the Council was willing to act to curb piracy only because of the threat to the economic interests of some countries. While South Africa supported the call for Somalia to be declared an exclusive economic zone, it felt that the absence of such a zone should not be used to justify the illegal exploitation of Somali resources.
MASOOD KHAN (Pakistan) said that inadequate governance structure, lack of economic opportunities and exploitation of costal areas in Somalia were major contributors to modern piracy, which was mostly localized off the Coast of Somalia and the Gulf of Aden. In other regions, such as the Gulf of Guinea, it could be attributed to proliferation of armed groups and inadequate preparedness of merchant ships. Elsewhere, piracy was an “incident and not a pattern”. While that menace had diminished, it still posed a serious threat. Pirates presently held hostage more than 200 seafarers. He strongly condemned hostage taking, and lamented that the international community lacked a unanimous view on how to address that issue. The welfare of seafarers — in captivity and after release — was a priority, and in that context he welcomed the proposal of a hostage support programme developed by UNPOS and UNODC.
He said that eradicating piracy of the Somali coast would require a concerted and integrated approach, encompassing political, security and justice sector tracks, and be based on four pillars. First, the root causes related to the political and security situation in Somalia must be addressed. Second, pirates must be deterred by active naval deployment. Third, there was a need for judicial measures and justice-sector development, particularly for regional countries such as Seychelles, Kenya, Mauritius and Tanzania, who were providing critical support in prosecuting pirates. And, fourth, mercantile shipping companies needed to be cognizant of piracy, follow relevant guidelines and take protective measures. Pakistan, in principle, did not object to the presence of privately contracted armed security personnel aboard merchant ships, subject to prior intimation on a case-to-case basis. Ships must notify coastal States about the presence of privately contracted armed security personnel in advance and formulate and put in place standard operating procedures to ensure that their security, at sea and on land, was not compromised. More broadly, an acceptable regulatory framework should be developed.
WANG MIN ( China) said piracy was a common scourge facing the international community, including off the coasts of Somalia, Aden and Guinea. Pirates had increasingly defined their actions as a business model, which had affected trade and economic activities and weakened the vulnerability of States in certain regions. It was important to strengthen international support for anti-piracy initiatives, which should fully respect the territorial integrity of States concerned and should include prosecuting those involved.
Strengthening capacity-building was essential to fighting piracy, he said, pointing to efforts in Guinea to bolster judicial and law enforcement capabilities and commending the work of ECOWAS and other groups in those areas. Further, he called on the international community to sustain support of those and similar efforts. Turning to the root causes of piracy, he said the crime that took place at sea began on land, with poverty being a key catalyst. China had, for its part, provided more than 500 escorts to mostly foreign vessels, and would continue to strengthen coordination with parties concerned.
NÉSTOR OSORIO (Colombia) said despite efforts to combat piracy, the scourge had continued to threaten shipping lanes. A significant drop in pirate attacks had been reported, yet piracy persisted, with currently a high number of hostages in captivity. Piracy was the result of certain economic conditions, as was the case in Somalia, he said.
He said that the challenges of providing security off the Somali coast started on land, and the Somali authorities had the main responsibility for anti-piracy efforts, bringing about the rule of law and establishing economic stability. The international security must support those efforts, including through projects aimed at informing Somalis about the danger of piracy and discouraging young people from taking part in the illegal activity. The Somali Government must also ensure that legislation was consistent. The international community should also assist by helping to establish maritime borders, which would strengthen Somalia’s monitoring capacity. The lessons learned in regions affected by piracy must be applied elsewhere, he said, noting that in regions afflicted by those criminal activities, there was a high transit of sources and goods alongside political and social instability. For those reasons, strengthening capacities regarding the rule of law, among other actions, were needed on land to combat piracy at sea.
AGSHIN MEHDIYEV ( Azerbaijan) said efforts had been succeeding in driving down the number of pirate attacks, including off the Somali coast. However, the problem of criminal networks remained, and it was important to develop and implement appropriate frameworks to prevent, combat and end armed robberies at sea. A sustainable response to piracy required full and effective control over the affected territories and the establishment of the rule of law.
He said that most States could not manage alone the control of their waters, so coordination and cooperation with partners should be bolstered. He, thus, urged collective commitment to combat piracy, adding that international assistance remained critical. Relevant State and regional organizations should be supported in their efforts to establish, among other things, early-warning systems. At the same time, efforts to fight piracy should be in accordance with relevant laws.
GERT ROSENTHAL (Guatemala) said that it was interesting, in the midst of new challenges to international peace and security, that “we must also face a challenge that has plagued our ancestors”. The Security Council must respect existing international laws in the fight against piracy and the struggle must become a truly concerted effort, of broad spectrum and transnational nature. Only full cooperation between the United Nations, the affected countries, relevant international organizations and the private sector would bring successful results. The United Nations should assist in resources mobilization and the relevant agencies should work with the regions to address, not only piracy, but also terrorism, illicit drug trafficking and arms proliferation, all of which together conspired to destabilize the region.
He advocated more active use of international legal instruments, as well as the improvement of legal instruments that related to the prosecution of piracy, taking into account the uniqueness of the situation. Achieving the correct and prompt prosecution of those suspected of piracy and ensuring their imprisonment after trial was essential in preventing impunity and deterring further attacks. In that regard, he fully supported the strengthening of United Nations assistance to the States of the region to build capacity, focusing on legislative reform, prosecution and processing of cases, effective law enforcement and improving prison infrastructure. In addition, the underlying causes of piracy must be addressed. Also important was for Somalia to proclaim an exclusive economic zone off its coast and for the Council to take measures to address the financing of criminal organizations involved in piracy.
MOHAMMED LOULICHKI (Morocco) also noted that piracy was an old threat that had re-emerged in recent years as an increased concern to the international community. Particular attention to the internal challenges of affected States was needed. Although those States had the responsibility to face the threat, international capacity-building assistance was needed to improve security and judicial frameworks for the prosecution of pirates and to prevent further acts. The focus should include those who financed and benefited from piracy.
He said that the conditions in Somalia were now conducive for a more effective fight against piracy, with assistance from the international community. He hailed the support of UNODC and UNDP in the area of rule of law to Somalia and stressed that development initiatives, including attention to employment opportunities and application of maritime zones were important. His country had participated in coordination efforts to combat piracy in the Gulf of Guinea and would soon host a conference of African ministers on security and enhancing cooperation, with piracy a chief concern in that context.
HARDEEP SINGH PURI (India) said the increased naval presence off the Somali coast had not stopped pirate attacks, with numbers remaining fairly constant. Eleven ships and 188 hostages, including 43 Indians, were held by pirates as of August, and the problem was also growing in the Gulf of Guinea. India had participated in anti-piracy patrols since 2008 in the Gulf of Aden, as well as the Eastern and North Eastern Arabian Sea, but more international cooperation was needed to promote information sharing, evidence and intelligence in investigations, prosecution and sentencing of suspected pirates, and to secure the release of hostages. The Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia had seen some successes, but a comprehensive counter-piracy strategy, including to deter and prosecute pirates, was required and States in the region needed to cooperate.
He urged UNPOS, UNODC and UNDP to focus on legal reforms to criminalize piracy, and build capacity for prosecutions and trials, effective law enforcement and improved prison infrastructure. Efforts were needed on land, too, and he stressed the importance of a multidimensional approach targeted at the leadership and financial flows that sustained piracy. He underlined the link between piracy and the security situation in Somalia and in the States around the Gulf of Guinea, calling on the Somali Government to fully implement the counter-piracy measures contained in the road map. The Indian Navy had recently thwarted piracy off its own coast, and he stressed the importance for regular and transparent reviews of the high-risk area, based on confirmed incidents. He endorsed the Deputy Secretary-General’s conclusions and called for a framework to govern the use of privately contracted armed security personnel on board vessels to ensure regulation and accountability.
REGINA MARIA CORDEIRO DUNLOP (Brazil) said the response to piracy must be comprehensive and integrated, starting with root causes on land. Socioeconomic exclusion required serious and constant attention, as it tended to drive many to a life of crime offshore. “If we are to be effective in our individual and collective efforts to fight piracy and armed robbery at sea, we must help affected countries to address economic hardship and the lack of employment opportunities,” she said. “Although this Council has no competence on development issues per se, it should not lose sight of those critical interlinkages between security and development, as it discusses peace and security in piracy-affected regions.” Council actions must also be fully consistent with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which provided a legal framework to combat piracy.
Brazil was encouraged that the number of pirate attacks had decreased off the Somali cost, indicating the importance of combined naval actions, capacity-building initiatives in Member States and the relevance of the discussion of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, as well as at the International Maritime Organization. Brazil supported those discussions towards enhancement of regulation and guidelines for ships, including in the sensitive issue of privately contracted armed security personnel. Many recent positive political developments in Somalia were also reason for optimism, and it was important for the international community to rally behind efforts to improve socioeconomic conditions for the Somali people. Council resolution 2039 (2012) emphasized the importance of national, regional and extra-regional initiatives to enhance safety and security in the Gulf of Guinea; Brazil invited Member States to ensure that fight against piracy was in line with and supported the objectives and spirit of the Zone of Peace and Cooperation of the South Atlantic.
IOANNIS VRAILAS, Deputy Head of the European Union Delegation, said that despite recent successes in the fight against piracy, there was no time for complacency given that key criminal networks remained active and current trends could easily be reversed. This was an opportunity to reinvigorate country-led counter-piracy efforts in a “twin approach” at sea and on land. He also drew attention to the Union’s EUCAP Nestor, a new regional maritime capacity-building mission, aimed at assisting the Somali and Indian Ocean States to govern their territorial waters and fight maritime crime.
He said that efforts should also continue to pursue piracy network leaders, financiers and instigators and to track and disrupt financial flows. The “risk/reward” ratio should be increased and the underlying business model should be broken. The Union was actively supporting Interpol in its work to improve the evidence base and capacities of countries in the region to investigate piracy. Union member States, supported by EUROPOL, were also active in investigations and prosecution efforts. The effectiveness of global counter-piracy efforts depended on full respect for applicable international law and the flag State jurisdiction in international waters, he said, highlighting concern for a specific case of disregard of basic international law principles concerning the status of military personnel in active duty as a vessel protection detachment in an official mission. He also emphasized that only the establishment of the rule of law and economic development would undermine the breeding ground for organized crime in Somalia.
No single action could solve piracy on its own, nor was there a “silver bullet”, he said, noting the need for an integrated approach. Such a collective initiative should include containment and deterrence by naval forces, measures to provide protection to merchant shipping, actions to end impunity, building regional capacities and finding solutions on land. The key issues were timing, sequencing and coordination.
CARSTEN STAUR (Denmark) agreed that despite determined international action that had suppressed piracy, the crime still remained a global threat. In Somalia, there was now a chance to establish ownership in that fight, with capacity-building central to that effort. He urged the new Government to work with its neighbours to prepare a comprehensive regional counter-piracy framework and pass necessary domestic legislation.
Noting that his country chaired the working group on legal efforts under the Contact Group on piracy, he said that significant progress had been made, with almost 1,200 suspected pirates prosecuted or awaiting prosecution in 21 countries worldwide. He added that eventually, Somali pirates should be prosecuted in Somalia, but that required putting in place all the necessary legal capabilities. In the meantime, international law already contained the necessary provisions to counter piracy. The working group had been endeavouring to address lack of imprisonment facilities in the region by creating a programme to transfer Somali pirates convicted in other States back to Somalia, the first 17 of which had been transferred in March. The programme would continue to be refined. Global cooperation and vigilance would remain necessary. “Should Governments turn their attention elsewhere and should the vigilance of seafarers and the shipping companies wane, the pirates will quickly be back in their skiffs”, he said.
MATEO ESTRÉMÉ ( Argentina) said instances of piracy and armed robbery off Somalia’s coast were among the serious symptoms of a situation that constituted a threat to international peace and security and had therefore earned the attention of the international community and the Security Council. Such acts in the Gulf of Guinea had also caused the Council to call on countries in the region to enhance cooperation. Because the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea codified customary international law regarding the repression of piracy, however, the Council should not address that unless it constituted a threat to international peace and security. That did not mean, however, that the Council could not in specific situations take measures, and in the case of Somalia, it had done so.
He said that Security Council resolutions made clear that authorization was applicable only to the situation in Somalia and was not a precedent for international customary law and, in that case, was granted only upon the consent of the Somali Transitional Government. In the Gulf of Guinea situation, the Council had addressed piracy and armed robbery at sea from the standpoint of cooperation by regional organizations. In all such cases, unless the Council adopted Chapter VII measures, such as in Somalia’s case, States, United Nations agencies and regional organizations should conform with the Law of the Sea Convention. As the situation in Somalia went well beyond piracy and armed robbery, broader action was required, which included addressing the underlying causes of the scourge. Capacity-building was also crucial, to enable Somalia to benefit from the exploitation of the natural resources of its maritime areas.
ABDALLAH YAHYA A. AL-MOUALLIMI (Saudi Arabia) said that his country was one of the first to have been affected by the wave of piracy off the Somali coast, with some of its commercial ships and oil tankers exposed to repeated attacks, robberies and kidnapping. The country, therefore, supported the Contact Group and participated in its activities. While he welcomed the decrease in piracy, he said there was an urgent need to support Somalia’s new Government to help it to assert control over the entire country and to address the root causes of piracy, as well as to combat it at sea. Saudi Arabia was working with the international community to find a permanent framework that legalized the use of contracted security personnel through transparency and full respect for the sovereignty of each State and the laws affecting its regional waters.
In addition, he said that Israel was exercising air, sea and land piracy against the Palestinian people in Gaza, wondering how many victims it would take before the Council would act. Evoking the suffering of people “until this very moment getting bombarded with Israeli missiles”, he said it was time for the Council to order the cessation of violence and to lift the siege in Gaza and end the occupation of the Palestinian people.
PHILIPPA KING ( Australia) said that although various situations of piracy differed, there were lessons that could be learned from all of them. In the Gulf of Guinea, piracy needed to be addressed urgently to avoid escalation. She commended the regional organizations for their progress in developing a regional strategy, including the holding of a summit. She noted that her country supported their efforts in a variety of ways.
On the Horn of Africa, she agreed that progress had been made but warned against complacency, stressing that ultimately addressing piracy in the region would depend on stability and economic opportunity. It was vital to support the new Somali Government’s efforts to consolidate recent gains. She encouraged the Government to declare an economic zone, and noted that her country had contributed to security and judicial efforts against piracy in that region. Turning briefly to South-East Asia, she said piracy had declined in previous years thanks to regional cooperation, but added that opportunistic theft from ships at port remained a problem. She finally summarized lessons learned compiled in a July conference in Perth, including the need for strengthened national capacity, effective action on land, international cooperation, information sharing, properly structured coast guards, legal frameworks for prosecution, use of best practices by the shipping industry and assistance to victims.
OSAMA ABDELKHALEK MAHMOUD (Egypt) stressed the importance of sharing lessons learned in combating piracy, taking into account the political and security considerations of the region concerned. Different objectives and Modus operandi of pirate networks required different approaches to repress them. Nevertheless, there were some common keys to success, including support for national counter-piracy capacity; enhanced cooperation and information sharing at the regional level; promoting commitment of the maritime industry to follow best practices in high-risk areas; and ensuring prosecution of suspected pirates, their leaders and financiers. Egypt welcomed steps by the States of the Gulf of Guinea to repress piracy, including through joint patrols. Also important was to develop a regional anti-piracy strategy in accordance with Council resolution 2039 (2012), as was enhanced global assistance to build national and regional maritime capabilities.
He said that his country, as a member of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, valued a comprehensive international approach, providing more resources to support development and reconstruction, thereby creating jobs for Somali youth to end the risk of their engagement in piracy. The new political dispensation in Somalia would lead to further positive development, and Egypt remained committed to supporting the Somali Government. Egypt also attached great importance to the proper definition of the high-risk area, which should be clear and well-defined for effective use of resources. Finally, there was a need to develop regulations for deployment of privately contracted armed security personnel on board commercial ships. “The development of these regulations should be concluded through an open consultative process, with the participation of all parties, particularly through the International Maritime Organization,” he said.
SYLVIE LUCAS (Luxembourg) said the deployment of global maritime patrols, implementation of “best managing practices” and other action in the last few years had helped reduce piracy off the Somali coast. But the world must remain vigilant, as more than half of all pirate attacks this year occurred in the Gulf of Aden, the Red Sea and off the Somali coast. Luxembourg actively contributed to the European missions in support of implementation of relevant Council resolutions, notably by providing surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft to Operation Atalanta and by contributing to the training of Somali security forces. Luxembourg was considering contributing to EUCAP Nestor, which sought to strengthen the capacity of the Horn of Africa States to govern their territorial waters and ensure maritime security.
Noting that the Gulf of Guinea was becoming a new high-risk zone, she said that two ships flying the Luxembourg flag were attacked in that area this year. He welcomed efforts by the region’s countries to adopt a regional anti-piracy strategy in collaboration with the African Union. Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, armed robbery at sea and the rise of related illicit activities affected West Africa’s stability and security, and threatened its socioeconomic development. For many years, Luxembourg had implemented an active development cooperation policy in the region to create economic opportunities for coastal populations, especially youth. International efforts to address piracy through military means had not stamped out piracy fully, she said, urging the international community and all coastal States in affected zones to adopt a global strategy to address piracy’s root causes, to guarantee stability at sea and solve the problems ashore. That approach must combine deterrence at sea, strengthened institutions to guarantee rule of law, and, among others, an adequate legal framework and support for job creation. Coastal States of the affected zones must be at the centre of those efforts as no lasting progress could be made without their full involvement.
MARGUS KOLGA ( Estonia) said piracy was a major threat to commercial shipping and security, as seafarers of any nationality were at risk of being taken hostage. The scourge should be tackled in a joint international effort, he said, commending the Council’s work on related issues and welcoming the attempt to have an integrated look at piracy around the world. Having taken part in the European Union’s anti-piracy Operation Atalanta, Estonia’s vessel protection detachment had embarked and escorted several World Food Programme (WFP) ships and had been involved in training exercises.
Given Estonia’s experience in such operations, he said he understood the complexity of piracy-related challenges, including the legal basis allowing the deployment of vessel protection detachments. He urged all nations whose ships sailed in waters affected by piracy to bear their responsibility for vessels and crew by signing flag State declarations. The shipping industry must also promote the adoption of best management practices. It was clear that a military presence in the Horn of Africa had led to a drop in the number of pirate attacks, yet that alone was not enough. More needed to be done on land, included addressing the root causes of piracy. One of the key elements in fighting piracy was the establishment of the rule of law and ending impunity, he said, noting that States should review their relevant legislation, ensure that there was sufficient evidence gathering and work regionally to tackle related challenges.
CESARE MARIA RAGAGLINI ( Italy) said international efforts to protect sea lanes and to fight piracy could only be effective if all nations cooperated in good faith according to established rules of international customary law and United Nations conventions. Presently, two Italian marines were being detained in a Member State on charges of the murder of two fishermen while they were carrying out anti-piracy activities in their capacity as vessel protection detachments on an Italian oil tanker in international waters. Freedom of navigation would be a meaningless concept if the exclusive jurisdiction of the flag State in international waters was not guaranteed, he said, emphasizing that counter-piracy operations could not even exist if States did not respect the functional immunity of the vessel protection detachments. Any erosion of the sending State’s exclusive jurisdiction over servicemen on official duty would jeopardize the status of agents on international missions, he said, adding that the Security Council could expect no less from each of the Member States.
Italy’s long-standing experience in combating transnational organized crime clearly indicated that to be successful, one had to follow “the money trail” and hit the crime leaders, not only their foot soldiers, he said. With that in mind, Italy was chairing Working Group 5 of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, which was focused on illicit financial flows connected with maritime piracy. He expected that the Security Council would send a clear message to States and the private sector to strengthen their international cooperation, in particular in sharing evidence, information and intelligence. The drop in the total number of attacks and hijackings in 2012 was a success, indicative of wider compliance with best management practices and armed protection. However, in terms of protection, there was a need for more comprehensive and standardized regulations for privately contracted armed security personnel deployment.
SHIN DONG IK (Republic of Korea) said piracy could be effectively tackled by addressing the underlying causes on the mainland and could be rooted out when Governments regained full control over their territories and provided sufficient economic opportunities to their people. Welcoming the new Somali Government, he said a successful solution to piracy was attainable. Capacity-building of Somalia’s judicial system based on mid- and long-term perspectives was critical to prosecuting and imprisoning persons responsible for piracy and armed robberies at sea off the country’s coast.
For its part, the Republic of Korea had participated in the Contact Group and intended to help participants to improve seafarers’ welfare and prevent piracy by facilitating the use of privately contracted armed security personnel on board. His country had also financially supported anti-piracy efforts in Somalia and its neighbouring countries. Being one of the world’s largest flag States, his country wanted to take today’s meeting as a chance to renew its commitment to maritime security, he said, emphasizing that, together, piracy would be tackled by rallying firm and resolute commitments by the international community.
TSUNEO NISHIDA ( Japan) said piracy had become a major threat alongside transnational organized crime and terrorism, and had become a vital concern for the world economy dependent on the passage of commercial vessels. Ransom derived from kidnapping seafarers and vessels stimulated even more transnational crime. Piracy off the Somali coast remained the most imminent threat, and was being tackled by a holistic and multifaceted approach. Citing successful counter-piracy efforts, he said concerted initiatives were needed, including the conduct of naval operations. Japan had taken part in collective operations since 2009. While there had been a drop in the number of attacks, piracy was spreading out to the entire Indian Ocean region, and the international community needed to urgently address that new phenomenon.
Enhancing coastal States’ maritime security was crucial to complementing such operations, for which most countries needed the international community’s support, he said. Regional approaches were also useful in Somalia and the Gulf of Aden. In addition, strengthening the Somali judicial system with international assistance was the best option to address the legal aspects of piracy. Commending the pivotal role played by the Contact Group, Japan expected it to enhance its effectiveness by improving its working methods. His country also expected more active involvement by the United Nations Secretariat, particularly the Department of Political Affairs, given that remaining challenges meant addressing the nexus between sea (piracy) and land (peacebuilding) and beefing up regional cooperation.
YURIY SERGEYEV ( Ukraine) said collective measures had resulted in sharp declines in pirate attacks off the Somali coast, however, that trend depended on the naval presence in the region, the implementation of guidance and the prosecution of perpetrators. The initial success could be reversed until the root causes of piracy were addressed. Concerning emerging challenges in the Gulf of Guinea, he shared the Council’s concern about the threat to international navigation and seafarer safety. He encouraged neighbouring States and regional organizations to enhance efforts to ensure maritime safety and security, including through the development of a legal framework for the prevention and repression of piracy and armed robbery at sea.
In that light, he said the fight against impunity of Somali pirates had brought tangible results, with 1,186 individuals prosecuted or awaiting court dates in 21 States. He noted similar success in the Asian region. The tools being developed regarding law enforcement, evidence collection and other judicial aspects could be systemized for improved domestic application by Member States. Enhancing the United Nations model counter-piracy legislation could facilitate the apprehension and prosecution by Member States of those engaged in piracy and armed robbery. He also welcomed current efforts aimed at developing guidance to address care for seafarers who had suffered from kidnappings and he urged flag States and ship owners to do their utmost to ensure crew members’ security.
RAIMONDA MURMOKAITĖ (Lithuania) said that regional and international cooperation were key elements of countering piracy. Regional efforts on maritime security mechanisms, law enforcement communication and intelligence sharing were essential and must be supported by the United Nations. Noting that her country was participating in the Contact Group on Piracy, she commented that some of the Group’s accomplishments, especially in complex legal matters, might well be used as a source of reference in other situations. Also noting a gap between obligations of Member States in bringing pirates to justice and their actions, she said that increased support was required to speed up the criminalization of piracy and prosecution and imprisonment of pirates. Concerted efforts to prosecute financiers and organizers were also needed.
A comprehensive approach, she said, should integrate deterrence by naval forces, strengthening rule of law, building of national capacities, providing for economic development and coordinating law enforcement. Measures in her country included work to amend the Criminal Code to establish universal jurisdiction over piracy. The country also planned to augment its contributions to the European naval operation. Noting that Lithuania had to deal with the hijacking of its ships in the Gulf of Guinea, she called for more attention to the situation of hostages and for sharing best practices in the face of such situations.
MOHAMMAD KHAZAEE ( Iran), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said while the Council’s efforts to mitigate piracy threats were appreciated, concerns remained about the frequency of attacks. Despite international efforts, piracy remained a major problem with economic, commercial, humanitarian and security dimensions. Those concerns had been raised in August, during the sixteenth Summit in Tehran of the Non-Aligned Movement’s Heads of State, and the Council’s adoption of resolution 1816 (2008) had been welcomed. However, the Movement stressed that the resolution should be implemented in a manner consistent with international law.
The Summit, he said, had also welcomed April 2011 outcomes of the High-Level Public-Private Counter-Piracy Conference and subsequent pledging conference. Yet, the Movement was concerned about acts of piracy and armed robbery in the Gulf of Guinea, and supported the efforts of States and regional organizations to consider a comprehensive response. The Movement remained resolute in assisting international efforts in the quest to mobilize global initiatives to tackle piracy, including through capacity-building of States in the region. Given that piracy was often a transnational crime, cooperation between Governments, navies and law enforcement agencies was important. At the United Nations level, the issue of piracy required a strong interagency approach that addressed not only the law enforcement and judiciary aspects but also aimed to formulate solutions to its underlying causes.
Speaking in his national capacity, Mr. KHAZAEE said that his country welcomed the authorization by the Council of measures to counter piracy. After incidents involving the hijacking Iranian ships off the Somali coast and in the Gulf of Aden, operations had been carried out to help, assist and escort more than 100 vessels in those areas; most recently, one Chinese and one Iranian ship had been rescued. Iran had also been active in similar efforts and had shared reports on relevant issues. Piracy necessitated a deeper look in order to develop a more collective response. He hoped States would continue to share experiences to improve international responses.
HUSSEIN HANIFF ( Malaysia) said that while it was heartening to note the sharp decline in attacks, piracy continued to pose grave threats to seafarers and international trade. Work must continue on naval forces’ enforcement, improved implementation of IMO guidance and industry-developed best practices. Malaysia had taken part in anti-piracy operations, including sending five war ships to the Gulf of Aden to escort vessels. He noted that two ships of the Malaysian International Shipping Corporation, one Malaysian-flagged tugboat, and one Malaysian-flagged cargo ship had been captured by pirates off the Somali coast and in the Gulf of Aden between 2008 and 2010. The cargo ship was still being held. However, Malaysia had arrested six Somali pirates that tried to hijack a Malaysian vessel in January 2011 and prosecution was under way within the national legal system, he said.
He expressed concerns over the growing incidence of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea. It was pivotal for the necessary law and order to be in place, which would lead to economic development in the region. In its own region, Malaysia had been actively ensuring that maritime zones were safe and secure for international navigation. Overall improvement in maritime security in the Strait of Malacca was a reflection of close cooperation among States, he said, adding that incidents there had dropped from nine in 2011 to only one this year.
In closing, he referred to the ongoing violence in the Gaza Strip, saying that the Malaysian parliament was going to adopt a motion to reject the Israeli attacks, and that the motion would be submitted to the Security Council and Secretary-General in due course.
TUVAKO NATHANIEL MANONGI (United Republic of Tanzania) said in view of the piracy threats, his country had taken several judicial and security measures, including penal code and the Merchant Shipping Act amendments that gave national courts the jurisdiction over offences committed on the high seas. Piracy had thus been given a broader definition, and courts now were able to prosecute suspected pirates captured within and without his country’s territorial waters. The national armed forces had carried out operations solely and jointly with regional and international partners.
He said that his and other African countries had entered into agreements to receive and prosecute in national courts pirates captured off the Somali coast. He was pleased by international efforts in suppressing piracy and building capacities for countries in the region and in Africa. Commending the work of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), he said the incorporation of a maritime component in its mandate would strengthen its efforts. Despite optimism, he was concerned that the defeated elements of Al-Shabaab had moved from the coast to the hinterlands and were forging alliances with armed groups. He called on the Security Council to monitor that new phenomenon in cooperation with the regional players. He also called for the full implementation of resolutions 1976 (2011) and 2020 (2011) and other relevant texts concerning the prevention of illegal fishing and illegal dumping, including of toxic substances on Somali territorial waters and beyond.
NORACHIT SINHASENI ( Thailand) said his country had had many vessels attacked and hijacked. It had dispatched navy units in 2010 and 2011 to join the anti-Somali piracy operation under the banner of the Combined Maritime Forces to support United Nations Security Council resolutions and was considering continuous participation in such patrols. The disruption of the illicit financial flows of piracy syndicates and networks was another effective measure, in addition to the prosecution of suspects. He encouraged member countries that had tried pirates to share information, experience and best practices on related aspects of their judiciary sector development.
As a coastal State of the Strait of Malacca, Thailand had contributed to activities to make those waters safe and had taken part in activities that supported information sharing. Seafarers were still at risk of piracy, and his country was committed to their welfare and safety and to all efforts to stamp out that scourge.
ADY SCHONMANN (Israel) affirmed the global threat of piracy and called for attention to its human dimensions, particularly the threat to the lives and well-being of seafarers. Noting that 99 per cent of her country’s trade was conducted through maritime passageways, she said that it had faced hijacking attempts. Such crimes required a holistic approach, as issues of instability, international criminality and others must also be addressed. Commending international cooperation inspired by the relevant Council resolutions, she noted that piracy occurred in many areas of the world.
Noting legal mechanisms in her country to combat terrorism, she said that the importance of a well-functioning national judiciary and law enforcement system to fight piracy could not be underestimated. Therefore national capacity building was important. She also noted her country’s efforts to work with shipping companies on best practices to avoid attacks. Maintaining that piracy had much in common with terrorism, she said a coordinated global response to piracy could draw from lessons learned in countering terrorism. In closing, she said it was unfortunate that certain delegations had decided to use the meeting on piracy to discuss unrelated issues. Without wanting to get engaged in a prolonged debate on that issue here, she said that Israel did not choose to enter into the conflict in Gaza; it was pulled into it by rocket attacks on its people that had persisted for a long time. It was obligated to protect its citizens as was every other country.
LE HOAI TRUNG (Viet Nam), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that piracy was indeed a threat to global security and socioeconomic development. His country had become a victim to that crime, which was a matter of a serious concern in the South China Sea. He commended the work of all partners in international efforts to combat the threat. Successes had been due to political will, along with improved coordination and capacity-building and the application of guidance and standards on transport management and self-protection measures. Adequate attention should also be paid to addressing the root causes of piracy, including poverty. Respect for local concerns and international law were also important components of counter-piracy efforts.
In South-East Asia, he said, his country had actively contributed to a wide range of regional efforts against piracy, and the country’s legal system provided for the criminalization of the scourge. A coordinated strategy had been put in place and joint exercises with international partners had taken place in recent years. He affirmed his country’s continued commitment to working closely with relevant partners in the common cause to fight the global threat of piracy.
NEO EK BENG MARK (Singapore) said his country remained a strong supporter of international efforts against piracy, noting its contributions to the development of guidelines, and support for naval operations in the Gulf of Aden — including the provision of more than 700 troops to Combined Task Force 151 and its participation in the Contact Group. He expressed concern at the resurgence of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, along with reports of Singapore-flagged ships being boarded, but he commended countries in the region for their efforts.
Regional cooperation in all areas was critical, he stressed, noting the trilateral maritime patrols launched by his country along with Malaysia and Indonesia to combat the increase of piracy in the Strait of Malacca and Singapore. His country also had participated in broader maritime initiatives within and beyond Asia, such as the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP), for which information-sharing centres had been set up in Singapore. Those centres had become models for workshops in other areas. As a small trading nation, Singapore remained committed to such international efforts.
PABLO ANTONIO THALASSINÓS (Panama) welcomed the work by the Security Council on piracy in recent years, although it was only the beginning of the international work needed in the area. An appropriate legal framework was provided by the Convention on the Law of the Sea, which was consistent with Panamanian law. The application of self-protection measures for ships was necessary, through coordination between ships and security forces and the sharing of information.
He said that his country’s identification and tracking mechanism had become a useful tool for protection, allowing the quick identification of ships that had stopped moving in high-risk areas. Certification of contracted security forces was in progress; such protection measures should be regulated through clear guidelines for national legal frameworks.
AHMED AL-JARMAN ( United Arab Emirates) said fighting impunity was important, and he appreciated the Council’s role in that matter. Problems such as humanitarian crises that encouraged piracy should be addressed. Somalia’s national capacities should be bolstered to enhance economic development. An international commitment must be made to prosecute and detain perpetrators, he said, noting his country’s participation in activities to combat piracy and strengthening efforts to do so.
He said that coordinating a regional response was also important, as was deepening relations between the public and private sectors. Judicial systems should also be strengthened. The United Arab Emirates had increased its contributions to countries where piracy was flourishing, and had supported related initiatives, including assistance to the Somali Government to develop the Coast Guard’s capacities. While piracy constituted a great threat to international peace, he anticipated strengthening partnerships and the Council’s revitalized role in those matters.
JIM MCLAY ( New Zealand) said that for centuries pirates had jeopardized trade and the lives of legitimate seafarers, and if operating in a lawless system, had led to many of the worst problems haunting humanity, from slavery to the drug trade. New Zealand’s Sir Peter Blake had died at the hands of pirates. Today, piracy remained a significant challenge, costing the shipping industry and Governments about $7 billion each year. In some part of the world, efforts to tackle international piracy had started to bear fruit. But results also showed that pirates did not want to die in firefights; they sought “easy pickings” and would only be deterred by force, by strengthening the rule of law and by building societies that gave better opportunities than those offered by crime.
He said that free and secure navigation was of fundamental importance, and New Zealand had thus sought to play its part in counter-piracy activities, including contributing the Force Commander and staff officers to Combined Task Force 151. However, despite gains, the task of ending piracy off the coast of Somalia was far from complete, and sustained international efforts were still required to counter that menace and assist victims. As the Secretary-General mentioned in his report, specialized anti-piracy courts in Somalia and neighbouring countries should be established. Commending efforts by States such as Kenya, Yemen, India and Seychelles, he said urgent efforts were required to indentify a sustainable solution to the legal dilemma, both for Somalia and future such situations elsewhere. The Somali experience made it clear that security solutions alone were not sufficient; due consideration must also be given to the root causes. He called on the Council and on international partners to support efforts to address the underlying causes and assist AMISOM in its endeavour to control Somali coastal waters.
MUSTAFIZUR RAHMAN ( Bangladesh) said his country was deeply concerned at the continued incidents of piracy and armed robbery at sea. Despite recent improvements, it continued to pose serious threats, including the continued captivity of hostages. Although heightened vigilance had led to fewer attacks off the Somali coast, more could be done, and it was necessary to forge international efforts with the full support of countries of the region and United Nations involvement.
Cognizant of the complexities of international maritime law, which made it difficult to prosecute pirates once they were caught, he said that ways must be found to tackle the challenge by adopting legal norms. The goal should be to support efforts to identify, arrest and prosecute pirates, trace and seize ransom money and disrupt criminal networks. Attention should also be paid to the predicaments of hostages. Piracy could not be tackled by military means alone, he said, emphasizing that the problems of underdevelopment and poverty must also be addressed. Donors must deliver on their financial assistance commitments to support capacity-building of the Somali authorities in combating piracy, he said, reiterating the importance of international cooperation in that endeavour.
YUSRA KHAN (Indonesia), noting that his archipelagic State had long faced piracy and thus always condemned it, said that most recently, it had worked with its neighbours on regional initiatives to protect shipping in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore. He stressed that the Law of the Sea should serve as the primary legal framework for combating piracy. He welcomed support for international cooperation in tackling the crime in the Gulf of Guinea, stressing the need for assistance to coastal countries in advancing their monitoring, prevention and judicial capabilities.
On Somalia, he said that despite progress, the continued threat from piracy off its coast showed that the instability of the country, which underpinned such crimes, must be addressed immediately. In addition, building regional capacity to prosecute pirates, protecting seafarers and assisting piracy victims was critical. Among those prosecuted must be those who financed, planned, organized or profited from the attacks, as well as the pirates themselves. He urged continued vigilance on the problem.
TINE MØRCH SMITH ( Norway) said that an important factor in the drop in piracy incidents had been the Contact Group. Its simple and non-bureaucratic way of organizing its work, as well as the cooperation of countries with very different resources, could provide a model for tackling other security problems. She also commended countries in the region that had contributed to fighting piracy, noting that Norway was co-financing the United Nations prison project in “Puntland”, as well as deploying a frigate in naval operations. She added that another key to success had been cooperation with the shipping industry.
Joint efforts must continue until the crime was brought to an end, she said, with a priority being establishment of the rule of law in Somalia following the recent political progress there. International efforts to arrest and prosecute organizers and investors must also continue, and laundering of ransom money must be prevented. She underlined that it was morally and legally unacceptable to play with human lives in order to extort ransom. On the Gulf of Guinea, she said that the regional cooperation in West Africa needed to “mature” and piracy must be given the priority attention it deserved. International cooperation in South East Asia was functioning well; her country was also engaged there.
ELMI AHMED DUALE ( Somalia) said he agreed with many speakers that it was important to examine some of the causes of piracy on land. Conveying sympathy for the seafarers still in captivity, he said he hoped they would soon be released. Regarding actions taken by regional groups, he said the statement by the United Republic of Tanzania summed up the current situation. It was clear that Council members and speakers were committed to a collective solution to end piracy.
Further, he supported the proposal for a marine component of AMISOM and assistance to the Mission to develop its own forces. He hoped that this meeting and subsequent gatherings, including of the Trust Fund, would highlight other possibilities for additional positive actions.
USMAN SARKI ( Nigeria) said that piracy in her country’s waters and the adjacent high-sea lanes became prevalent in the last 15 years due to an upsurge in oil bunkering and high-sea hijackings. Security challenges facing its maritime zone included criminal activities, illegal fishing and toxic waste dumping. The upsurge in piracy in the Gulf of Guinea had made it imperative to become more concerned about the region’s collective security. Besides compounding the security situation, acts of piracy posed serious threats to navigation and the stability of coastal countries and beyond. In one country, estimates had showed that port activities dropped by more than 70 per cent due to pirate activities.
He said that the rise of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea was the result, in part, of weak institutions, uncoordinated regional responses and unfettered access to small arms and light weapons, as well as the lack of prosecution mechanisms. Nigeria had worked with bilateral and multilateral partners to chart a course to address the challenges, and wider efforts were needed to develop a collective regional counter-piracy strategy. She called on the international community to support ongoing regional efforts, but said it was clear that piracy had become an international challenge requiring concerted and enhanced action. It was crucial for all actors, particularly the United Nations, to deepen their engagements to guarantee common security.
Mr. PURI ( India), speaking in his national capacity, said the issue raised earlier concerned two security personnel who had fired on two fisherman. The case was considered to be sub juris and was being dealt with in accordance with international law.
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