ICC condemns piracy in the Gulf of Aden

  • 22 September 2008

The ICC Committee on Maritime Transport strongly condemns the recent violent attacks on merchant ships by pirates operating in Somali waters, particularly in the Gulf of Aden. The attacks are significantly increasing in number and intensity.

According to ICC’s International Maritime Bureau Piracy Reporting Centre, there have been 54 attacks on vessels in Somali waters so far this year, with 12 vessels and over 240 crew members still being held hostage. These hostages are citizens of many nations, including Europe, Russia and others with coalition naval forces in the area.

Pirates are armed with automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades, and demand large sums of money as ransom for their victims. Their actions are unacceptable and pose a grave threat to the global seafaring community, who are extremely vulnerable targets on the high seas and are responsible for vast amounts of expensive merchandise on board their vessels.

Piracy also seriously threatens the smooth flow of international trade. In the past year alone, there has been a tenfold increase in insurance premiums for sending cargo shipments through the Gulf of Aden, particularly at a time when commodity and oil prices remain high and uncertain.

This surge in attacks has occurred despite the UN Security Council resolution allowing naval vessels to enter Somalia’s waters and to repress pirates “by all necessary means”. These despicable acts of terror cannot be allowed to continue.

ICC calls on governments to take immediate, strong and effective action to repress such acts of piracy. Governments need to pursue all possible options in order to re-establish safety and stability in the Gulf of Aden, which is one of the world’s most strategically important international waterways.