We quote and summarize from various sources with our NAUTICAL LOG comments - rarely kind!! The International Maritime Organization (IMO) Safety Committee (MSC) announced an interim guidance on the use of privately contracted armed security personnel (PCASP) on board ships. Wow - how long is it now that the piracy has been going on? The Horn of Africa is considered the High Risk Area however there are other zones. Great news? - but wait do not go wild with excitement yet fellow seafarers.
This interim guidance in an MSC Circular directed to shipowners, ship operators and shipmasters transiting the High Risk Area and another a recommendation to Flag States. These latter Flag State guidance notes apply to their vessels alongside their own laws imposed on their vessels by the Flag State. So in fact what actually is achieved here? It would seem very little of practical use to Seafarers as the Flag States will say what must be done and the IMO will be ignored. After all this is the trend more and more, paint the IMO number on the ship and that's it!!
To NAUTICAL LOG this is just more of the same from the IMO, talk, paperwork, talk, paperwork, talk, paperwork, report and off they go for the weekend feeling all self-righteous at having countered piracy.
Reading the whole article, which readers may research for themselves, it is a masterpiece of maritime political bovine scatology, with a beautifully worded address by Mr. Efthimios E. Mitropoulos (EEM) the current fearless leader of IMO. He is due to finish up later this year so this could be his 'swan song' as there will be a summer recess coming up shortly no doubt so this gentleman and the others can relax. Meanwhile of course my fellow seafarers work 365/24/7 in their vessels and hope that if they are transiting the 'High Risk Area' they are not victims of Somali pirates. They already know that if this happens IMO, MSC, and EEM will not be able to do a thing about it and are, shall we say, are not deeply effected other than to activate paperwork to record the latest piracy incident correctly.
They, by their MSC recommendation, have passed responsibility to the Flag States, which is where it belongs anyway. Which makes one wonder why and what we Seafarers need an IMO for in the first place. Perhaps EEM and IMO could finish up at the end of the year together Seafarers could not really be worse off than they are at present.
Please remember the seafarers held captive by pirates off Somalia - let us work with maritime interests and others to free them.