How to curb sea piracy, by stakeholders
A report released at the end of the meeting held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, between September 14 and 15, explained that a common worldwide information sharing framework could possibly “expedite the receipt and distribution of critical details needed to enable naval and law enforcement forces to respond quickly”.
The meeting had in attendance more than 200 delegates from 30 countries who engaged in discussions on the continual increase in the number of piracy and armed robbery attacks against merchant ships.
Director of IMB, Pottengal Mukundan, was quoted as saying that information sharing and coordinated action between concerned coastal states are crucial in responding to this threat, adding that “ the proliferation of reporting centres in some regions could create a degree of confusion that can leave seafarers and ships unnecessarily at risk.”
According to him, “for crimes at sea, rapid response is crucial if there is to be any possibility of prosecuting the pirates,” adding that “the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre plays a crucial role liaising between merchant ships and coastal authorities and navies, and is prepared to further enhance the effectiveness of these joint efforts.”
During the meeting, the Inspector General of the Royal Malaysian Police gave a review of the issues in respect of the collection of evidence and international conventions affecting the law enforcement perspective of piracy and armed robbery investigations.
Stakeholders pointed to the key challenges facing the shipping industry which, in addition to piracy, include mass illegal migrations, the scale of which overwhelms the capacity of all stakeholders. This view was also shared by the Royal Malaysian Police, who identified human smuggling in the maritime domain as posing new concerns.
According to reports, the meeting also addressed other areas of concern such as the impact on seafarers and their families, post-incident protection of evidence, and the regional differences in the pirates’ strategies of attack.
Other developments which were considered included the use of armed guards and whether or not they fit into comprehensive response measures in different high risk areas, the more coordinated use of naval vessels in anti piracy operations, the challenges faced by law enforcement in arresting and prosecuting pirates and armed robbers, and the targeting of product oil cargoes on board vulnerable vessel.