Thursday, May 17, 2012

IMO CONFERENCE

Secretary-General Koji Sekimizu

The IMO Conference of the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) 90th. Session, May 16 - 25 2012 has been opened by IMO Secretary-General Koji Sekimizu.  The High-level segment of which is arms on board merchant vessels.


In his opening address the Secretary-General mentioned various points and no doubt as in the past there will be numerous speeches and high moral statements.  Like UNCLOS Nations will eventually sign or not sign (as the United States has not) but will still vigorously enforce the laws of UNCLOS (as the United States does) when it suits them.


Of the points that were covered in the Opening Address the one that interested NAUTICAL LOG because of our viewpoint on it was  Resolution A. 1044 (27) which states:


"Resolution A. 1044 (27) on piracy and armed robbery against ships in waters off the coast of Somalia endorses the position of this Committee that seafarers should not carry firearms and that the carriage of armed personnel on board ships for enhancing their protection should be left to the Flag State to decide, once a through risk assessment exercise has been carried out and following consultations with the shipowners concerned."

This Resolution has given the "green light" to all pirates that it is now quite unlikely they will meet with any resistance from vessel crews.  As a result NAUTICAL LOG believes this has encouraged the spread of piracy out from the Horn of Africa to all over the northern Indian Ocean.  In addition the West Coast of Africa piracy is in full swing again and appears more spread than in the 1980's when NAUTICAL LOG sailed those waters for two (2) years.  Our ship carried arms and on occasions we worn sidearms publicly by this display all the locals knew we were dangerous to mess with.  We had the full support of the charterers and our owners left it to the ship personnel.  In addition we hired Northern Nigerian tribesmen armed with bows and arrows (!) who kept an excellent watch while on that coast.  Whatever the decision made by others in our case we were boarded only once in those two (2) years.  That occurred in Lagos at Tin Can Island and our NN tribesmen watchers quickly dealt with that incident. 


We shall have to wait and see what is said and more importantly what, if anything, is done as a result of this Conference of the MSC.  Judging by past experience do not expect to much!!

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Another viewpoint which is worth reading is an interview with the DPA and CSO of GARDLINE MARINE SERVICES in gCaptain®

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A packed room !!

Good Watch

And while the MSC makes speeches some 300 of our fellow seafarers are being held hostage by pirates off the coast of Puntland, Somalia.  Some are in their third year of captivity many in their second year.  The talk goes on but no action is ever taken to rescue and free them.

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