International Maritime Organization (IMO) Secretary-General Kitack Lim has welcomed the Presidential Statement from the United Nations Security Council in which the Council strongly condemns acts of murder, kidnapping, hostage-taking and robbery by pirates in the Gulf of Guinea and encourages States in the region and regional organizations to enhance cooperation on maritime safety and security.
The statement also recognizes the efforts of the countries in the region in adopting measures to counter piracy and armed robbery at sea and address transnational organized crime, such as drug trafficking, as well as other measures to enhance maritime safety and security.
According to reports received by IMO and publicised on the organization’s Piracy and Armed Robbery database, the Gulf of Guinea accounts for nearly 40 per cent of all piracy and armed robbery at sea reported worldwide so far this year.
In 2015, it was the third most dangerous maritime area of the globe. Since 1 January 2016, there has been a 36 percent increase in reported incidents compared to the same period in 2015, while the number of people kidnapped from ships already matches the total for the whole of 2015. Several particularly violent incidents are a source of particular concern.
IMO says it is working with countries in the region and regional organizations to help develop the maritime sector and the blue economy, underpinned by good maritime security.
In addition to countering piracy and armed robbery against ships, States in the region are being encouraged and assisted to develop holistic maritime security strategies that address a range of issues, including search and rescue, marine environment protection, energy-supply security, maritime terrorism, unsafe mixed migration by sea as well as other illicit activities, such as trafficking drugs, weapons and people by sea and illegal fishing.
In its Presidential Statement, the Security Council expressed appreciation for the IMO West and Central Africa Maritime Security Trust Fund and its efforts to help build maritime-security capacity in West and Central Africa and encouraged Member States to make financial contributions to the Fund. IMO Secretary-General Lim expressed his gratitude to those States that had already contributed.