A number of international maritime groups have welcomed the recent decrease in the number of attempted and successful attacks against ships by Somalia based pirates operating in the Gulf of Aden and the western Indian Ocean.
They include the International Maritime Organization, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), BIMCO, the Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF), the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners (INTERTANKO), the International Association of Dry Cargo Shipowners (INTERCARGO), the International Parcel Tankers Association (IPTA), and the International Shipping Federation (ISF).
This decrease may be attributed to a combination of factors, including the presence of naval forces disrupting pirate operations; implementation of self-protection measures on board merchant ships and better situational awareness of where the threats are; coupled with more effective action ashore in Somalia by the Somali authorities and the international community.
The above mentioned Organizations remain convinced that the only long term solution to piracy is to establish effective government and implement the rule of law ashore in Somalia. However, until that is achieved, there can be no room for complacency. Any reduction in the level of protection of merchant ships could lead to a resurgence of pirate activities. Piracy must continue to be suppressed through the visible presence of and robust action by, the world‚Äôs navies, consistent with international law.
The Organizations therefore urge shipowners, shipping companies, ship operators, masters and crews to continue to take all appropriate and recommended measures to protect their ships and those on board from pirates and armed robbers, through sustained and full implementation of the relevant IMO guidance and industry developed Best Management Practices for protection against Somalia based piracy (BMP4).