Shipping Policy

Piracy remains a topical and worrying issue for international shipping. In 2016, according to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) report, 20% fewer incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships were reported worldwide, compared to 2015.

In the Gulf of Aden and in the West Indian Ocean, as a result of the combined actions undertaken by the United Nations (UN), IMO, the EU, governments and the shipping industry, piracy has remained suppressed. However, the hijacking of the Comoros flagged bunker - tanker Aris 13 off the coast of Somalia, in March 2017 - the first such incident since 2012 - potentially marks resurgence in piracy in this region. In this regard, the UGS applauds the agreement on the extension of the mandate of the European Union Naval Force ATALANTA (EU NAVFOR) for the next two years (2016-2018). The presence of naval operations in the Somalia region needs to be maintained. The EU NAVFOR should be further reinforced and supported by a sufficient number of navy vessels in order to maintain a high-level of operational capability and sustain the decline of piracy incidents.

Under the UNCLOS Convention, states should execute their duty to suppress piracy in the high seas or in other areas outside the jurisdiction of any state.

There is also a notable increase of piracy attacks in South East Asia and of kidnappings of seafarers in the Sulu / Celebes Sea. Furthermore, serious incidents, particularly of kidnapping, continue to occur off West Africa (Gulf of Guinea). More specifically, in 2016, there were 62 incidents of crew kidnap in total, three times more than the 2015 kidnap incidents. In early 2017 one of these incidents resulted in the murder of a seafarer. It is, primarily, the responsibility of the littoral states to respect the obligations which derive from the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and fulfil the commitments undertaken in the context of the peripheral agreements (ReCAAP, Yaoundé Code of Conduct, Lomé Charter).