Acts of piracy threaten maritime security by endangering, in particular, the welfare of seafarers and the security of navigation and commerce. These criminal acts may result in the loss of life, physical harm or hostage-taking of seafarers, significant disruptions to commerce and navigation, financial losses to ship-owners, increased insurance premiums and security costs, increased costs to consumers and producers, and damage to the marine environment. Pirate attacks can have widespread ramifications, including preventing humanitarian assistance and increasing the costs of future shipments to the affected areas.
The Secretariat of the United Nations, inter alia, assists States in the uniform and consistent application of the international legal framework for combatting acts of piracy, as reflected in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and complemented by other relevant international legal instruments. Relevant activities include support and technical assistance to States.
The international legal framework is also complemented by a number of resolutions of the Security Council. The United Nations also participates in the work of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia which facilitates the discussion and coordination of actions among States and organizations to suppress piracy off the coast of Somalia, pursuant to relevant Security Council resolutions. These activities are coordinated by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia.