IMO Secretary-General Highlights Seafarer Safety Amid Red Sea Attacks And Resurging Piracy

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  • IMO Secretary-General Arsenio Dominguez has emphasized the critical importance of seafarer safety in light of ongoing attacks in the Red Sea and the resurgence of piracy off the coast of Somalia.
  • Opening the 108th session of the Maritime Safety Committee in London, Dominguez highlighted the severe challenges faced by seafarers amid these maritime security threats.

Dominguez stressed that the safety and well-being of seafarers must remain a top priority. He urged the Committee to remember the seafarers affected by these incidents and to pursue all possible measures to ensure their safe return to their families and livelihoods. He specifically called for the immediate release of the Leader and its crew, who have been hijacked since November 2023.

Addressing the Red Sea Security Crisis

The Maritime Safety Committee, responsible for all matters related to maritime safety and security under the IMO’s scope, will discuss potential actions to address the ongoing crisis in the Red Sea. This situation not only impacts the global economy and freedom of navigation but also endangers the marine environment and has resulted in the loss of innocent lives.

Rising Cases of Piracy and Armed Robbery

The Committee will also address the concerning rise in piracy and armed robbery incidents against ships, which increased by approximately 15% from 131 incidents in 2022 to 150 in 2023. Dominguez expressed his deep concern over this increase and attributed it to growing global instability. He urged the Committee and all stakeholders to take decisive action to combat this alarming trend.

Regional and International Efforts

Dominguez commended the regional and international efforts to implement the Djibouti and Yaoundé Codes of Conduct, which facilitate cooperation among regional countries to tackle maritime security issues, particularly piracy and armed robbery. These initiatives include capacity-building for national authorities, coordinated activities, and the development of relevant regional strategies.

Other Key Issues on the MSC 108 Agenda

Other significant topics on the agenda for MSC 108 include the development of a regulatory code for Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS), creating a safety regulatory framework to support the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from ships through new technologies and alternative fuels, and addressing violence and harassment in the maritime sector. The 108th session of the Maritime Safety Committee will conclude on May 24, 2024.

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Source: IMO