ICC Document & publication

ICC Call For Action on Piracy (2011)

The ICC Commission on Transport and Logistics deplores the increase in violence and the number of ships which are being taken by pirates today, and calls on governments to redouble international efforts to halt this criminal activity.

According to ICC’s International Maritime Bureau (IMB), at 18 May 2011, there were 26 vessels held by the pirates with over 522 hostages on board. Vessels continue to be hijacked further away from the Somali coast where attacks were not previously recorded. According to the IMB, there were 219 attacks in 2010 off Somalia, in which 49 vessels were hijacked and 1,016 crew members taken hostage. So far this year there have been 128 attacks, 21 vessels hijacked, 360 crew taken hostage and 7 crew killed. There is no sign, despite all the efforts taken by navies and their vessels that this problem is being brought under control.

There is an urgent need for continued robust action against the pirate skiffs and motherships at sea. In this respect, ICC strongly urges all countries which have navy vessels in the region to adopt the terms of UN Security Council Resolution 1950 and frame the Rules of Engagement to their naval commanders, which calls for the seizure and disposal of vessels, weapons and equipment used, or suspected of being used, for piracy.The use of hijacked ocean going vessels as motherships by pirates in recent months has enabled attacks far beyond the Somali coast line, and amounts to an escalation of tactics used by the pirates. ICC fears this will lead to levels of hijacking of vessels in 2011, much higher than ever before.

In recent months, in the absence of sufficient naval support, more shipowners have had to hire private armed security to protect their seafarers and ships. The private sector is being forced to take action on its own with private security firms.

The piracy problem today is beyond that of only shipowners and seafarers. It is an issue that concerns global trade. The economic cost of piracy on the supply chain, which was estimated by the One Earth Foundation at the end of 2010 to be between US$7 to US$12 billion, is equally alarming. As the World Business Organization, ICC urges governments to recognize that piracy in addition to its effect on the safety of seafarers, has an important financial impact on global trade and shipping, and furthermore poses increased threat on the stability and security of energy supply lines not only for major industrial nations.