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November 7, 2005

IMO to seek UN Security Council action on pirates

IMO, the International Maritime Organization, is reportedly to consider a draft resolution asking for UN Security Council assistance in dealing with piracy

A session of the IMO Council is scheduled for November 17-18 and the Assembly meets November 21 to December 2005. It is expected that the draft resolution will be presented at these meetings.

The ITF--the International Transport Workers' Federation--has already issued a statement congratulating IMO on the move. The labor organization says it made a personal plea to IMO Secretary General Efthimios Mitropoulos to bring in the Security Council and says that Mitropolous's response was that the IMO already planned to do so.

John Bainbridge, who represents the ITF on piracy at the IMO explained that the recent attack on the Seabourn Spirit, "coming hard on the heels of the shameful theft of two relief vessels, proves that the situation is almost beyond control. Even 100 miles offshore ships are unsafe. We must bite the bullet and admit that as a unified nation, Somalia has ceased to exist. That may well mean that other countries will have to enter its waters and take over the duties that it can no longer carry out."

"Piracy is a world problem, a growing plague feeding on global trade, and sad to say it goes far beyond just this one area. However this latest incident may just act as the necessary catalyst by proving that enough is enough. It's time for decisive action against piracy and armed robbery of ships wherever they happen. Despite the IMO's undoubted efforts against piracy the problem persists and seafarers are being killed, traumatized and held to ransom. As a result, it appears that the IMO is to take the necessary next step to up the ante."

He concluded: "The Security Council will have to ask how many more attacks there need to be before real action is taken. They may want to remember what the response has been to a single terribles incident in the past - how a single terrorist attack against the Achille Lauro resulted in the adoption of the SUA Convention (Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation