IMO Secretary General addresses 3rd Chemical & Product Tanker conference

IMO secretary general Efthimios Mitropoulos told attendees at the Navigate/IPTA Chemical & Product Tanker Conference that during 2011, IMO will seek to:

• increase pressure at the political level to secure the release of all hostages being held by pirates;

• review and improve the IMO guidelines to Administrations and seafarers and promote compliance with industry best management practices and the recommended preventive, evasive and defensive measures ships should follow;

• promote greater levels of support from, and coordination with, navies;

• promote anti-piracy coordination and co-operation procedures between and among States, regions, organizations and industry;

• assist States to build capacity in piracy-infested regions of the world, and elsewhere, to deter, interdict and bring to justice those who commit acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships; and

• provide care, during the post-traumatic period, for those attacked or hijacked by pirates and for their families.

He said: "It is unrealistic to expect IMO to supply the “magic bullet” to solve the problem. Nevertheless, through these, and other initiatives, and in collaboration with others, we feel we can make a real difference. But I think Mr Ban hit the nail on the head when, at the launch of our action plan, he said: “although piracy manifests itself at sea, the roots of the problem are to be found ashore”, before adding “piracy is a criminal offence that is driven by economic hardship, and that flourishes in the absence of effective law enforcement. The only truly successful way to address the problem in the long-term is through a strategy that focuses on deterrence, security, the rule of law and development.”

Click here for a full version of the speech.