Concern at the IMO's MSC 80 that the ferocity of pirate attacks in increasing despite decreases in the number of attacks

The following papers were discussed in Plenary at the 80th session of the IMO's Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) with comments as follows: 

MSC 80/17 

The Chairman commented that although the number of acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships reported to have occurred or to have been attempted during the calendar year 2004 has decreased to 330, which is down by 27% over 2003 figures, the ferocity of these attacks has increased. The number of crew members reportedly killed rose from 13 to 30 and the number injured rose from 45 to 87, compared with 2003.  This is a major concern and is also highlighted in the submission by the United Kingdom under MSC 80/17/1. 

The Secretariat reported that the  areas most affected in 2004 were the Far East, in particular the South China Sea and the MalaccaStraits, South America and the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean, West Africa and East Africa. 

The Chairman noted that since MSC 78, no reports have been received from governments on piracy incidents in their territorial areas.  He underlined the importance of receiving timely and factual information in order for the Secretariat to determine whether actions taken so far are appropriate.  He urged governments to submit these reports to the Secretariat.   

MSC 80/17/1 

The submission by the United Kingdom summarised piracy statistics and trends identified by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) during 2004.  In addition, it outlined the United Kingdom's new strategy to counter piracy and armed robbery at sea. 

The U.K. has developed a counter piracy strategy, the first to be defensively focused, and looks to provide guidance, support and protective measures to U.K. seafarers and ships.  Its counter-piracy offensive addresses the underlying causes of piracy and will focus on working jointly with states that have a significant problem, providing advice, assistance and resources as appropriate. 

Japan commended the U.K.'s initiative, and took the opportunity to outline its own initiatives in the Malacca Straits.  Japan has also expressed its willingness to continue to cooperate with other governments to combat the piracy menace. 

Singapore is fully supportive of the U.K.'s efforts and views its initiative as an important step forward.  Singapore has outlined its most recent initiatives in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore and has emphasised the importance of multilateral co-operative efforts to deal with such crimes at sea. 

MSC 80/INF.13 

The Secretariat gave a preliminary report on the sub-regional seminar on piracy and armed robbery against ships and maritime security, held in Yemen in April 2005. 

Contact:Minerva Alfonso