According to data from the International Maritime Bureau (IMO) there was an unprecedented 11 percent increase worldwide in the number of piracy or armed robbery at sea against ships in 2008. Of the 293 incidents the Bureau recorded for the year, 111 occurred off the coast of Somalia.
Moreover, the international community as well as the Security Council expressed its concern over the finding contained in the 20 Nov 2008 report of the Monitoring Group on Somalia that escalating ransom payments were fueling the growth of piracy off the coast of Somalia.
New York, 18 November 2009 - Members of the Security Council called for intensified efforts to fight piracy off the Somali coast and criticized the practice of paying ransom. The members said during a session on piracy and the situation in Somalia that the coordinated fight by navies from several countries failed to deter pirates. The Council members called for more "crucial and robust" ways to fight the pirates, who are currently detaining 11 ships and 254 crew members. (SC/9793) The SRSG made a statement to the Security Council.
Under the Chairmanship of Japan, the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia held its fourth meeting in New York, on 10 September 2009. A Communiqué was issued at the end of the meeting.
The Secretary-General issued on report (S/2009/146)
to the Security Council on 16 March 2009, which looks at the “piracy situation, examines the political, legal and operational activities that have been undertaken by Member States, regional organizations, the UN and its’ partners in the fight against piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia and concludes with observations on ways in which the long-term security of international navigation off the coast of Somalia, including seaborne humanitarian deliveries to Somalia, can be secured and outlines the role that the United Nations can play at this stage.”
The SG’s report followed up on Security Council Resolution 1846
of 2 December 2008 in which the Council requested the SG report on long-term security of international navigation off the coast of Somalia, including security of the World Food Programme maritime deliveries to Somalia and a possible coordination and leadership role for the United Nations in this regard.
In the report, the SG observed that “the issue of piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia will be resolved only through an integrated approach that addresses the conflict, lack of governance and absence of sustainable livelihoods on land in Somalia.” Additionally, the SG noted that the lack of accountability that has led to impunity in this region needs to be addressed. He encouraged the continued efforts of the Member States and regional organizations in their fight against piracy. The United Nations Secretariat, the SG said in the report, will continue in its information coordination and liaison role.
From the 10 to 11 December 2008, UNPOS organized an International Conference on Piracy at the Ministerial level in Nairobi, which highlighted the need for the international community to address the root causes of piracy in Somalia and the need to establish a comprehensive approach.
At the end of the conference, a final Communiqué
was issued in which the Ministers condemned all acts of piracy and armed robbery in vessels off the territorial waters of Somalia, in the Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Eastern Africa and welcomed UN Security Council resolutions 1814 (2008)
, 1838 (2008)
, 1846 (2008)
all of which provide an adequate legal framework together with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. The Ministers underscored the need for a return to peace, stability and a functional government as inherent to a durable resolution to piracy around Somalia.
On 2 December 2008, the Security Council adopted Resolution 1846 (2008)
, in which the Council had decided that during the next 12 months States and regional organizations cooperating with the Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) could enter Somalia’s territorial waters and use “all necessary means” -- such as deploying naval vessels and military aircraft, as well as seizing and disposing of boats, vessels, arms and related equipment used for piracy -- to fight piracy and armed robbery at sea off the Somali coast, in accordance with relevant international law.
The Council acknowledged and welcomed the decision by the European Union to launch on 8 December 2008 a naval operation called Atalanta, for a period of 12 months from December 2008 to protect World Food Programme (WFP) maritime convoys bringing humanitarian assistance to Somalia, and other vulnerable ships.