Shipping associations call for UN armed guards to protect ships from pirates

pirateflagThe Round Table of International Shipping Associations wants to see shipping protected from Somali pirates by armed guards - provided by the United Nations.

The Round Table  (International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), BIMCO, INTERTANKO and INTERCARGO) has written IMO Secretary General Ban Ki Moon asking for a "bold new strategy" to curb rising levels of piracy.

The letter states: "It is now abundantly clear to shipping companies that the current situation, whereby control of the Indian Ocean has been ceded to pirates, requires a bold new strategy. To be candid, the current approach is not working."

The shipping industry organizations – which represent more than 90 percent of the world merchant fleet – say they fully support the UN's long•term measures on shore aimed at helping the Somali people but are concerned that these "may take years, if not decades, to have a meaningful impact on piracy."

Asking the UN to bring the concept of a UN force of armed military guards to the attention of its Security Council, the letter says: "The shipping industry believes that the situation can only be reversed with a bold approach that targets the problem in manageable pieces. We believe that an important element in this approach would be the establishment of a UN Force of Armed Military Guards that can be deployed in small numbers onboard merchant ships. This would be an innovative force in terms of UN peacekeeping activity but it would do much to stabilize the situation, to restrict the growth of unregulated, privately contracted armed security personnel and to allow those UN Member States lacking maritime forces – including those in the region most immediately affected – to make a meaningful contribution in the area of counter-piracy."

You can read the letter HERE

September 9, 2011

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