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January 30, 2009

IMO Djibouti meeting agrees antipiracy measures

Seventeen states have adopted a "Code of Conduct" for the repression of piracy. The states, from the Western Indian Ocean, Gulf of Aden and Red Sea areas, adopted the code at a meeting convened by IMO in Djibouti.

The code signatories declare their intention to cooperate on the repression of piracy and armed robbery against ships by sharing and reporting information, iinterdicting ships suspected of involvement in piracy or armed robbery against ships; ensuring that persons committing or attempting to commit acts of piracy or armed robbery against ships are apprehended and prosecuted; and facilitating proper care, treatment, and repatriation for piracy victims--particularly those who have been subjected to violence.

The states plan to fully cooperate in the arrest, investigation and prosecution of pirates; seize suspect ships and the property on board thems; and rescue ships, persons, and property subject to acts of piracy.

The code covers the possibilities of shared operations, such as nominating law enforcement or other authorized officials to embark in the patrol ships or aircraft of another signatory.

The signatories intend to use piracy information exchange centers in Kenya, Tanzania and Yemen, to be located, respectively, in the regional Maritime Rescue Coordination Centet in Mombasa, the Sub-Regional Coordination Center in Dar es Salaam, and a regional maritime information center, which is being established in Sana'a.

The meeting also recommended the establishment of a regional training center to help meet the purposes of the code and accepted an offer by Djibouti to host it.

Each signatory intends to review its national legislation to ensure that there are laws in place to criminalize piracy and armed robbery against ships, and adequate guidelines for the exercise of jurisdiction, conduct of investigations, and prosecution of alleged offenders.

The Code of Conduct is open for signature by the 21 countries in the region, nine of which--Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Maldives, Seychelles, Somalia, Tanzania and Yemen--signed it during the closing ceremony of the Djibouti. meeting,

IMO Secretary-General Efthimios E. Mitropoulos applauded the adoption of the Code of Conduct, describing it as significant milestone.

"Like the Regional Co-operation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against ships in Asia (RECAAP), which was concluded in November 2004 by 16 countries in Asia, I have every faith that the Code of Conduct will prove to be the starting point for successful cooperation and coordination in the region, which will bear fruit in the suppression of piracy and armed robbery against ships," he said.


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