In response to global statistics showing a continual increase in the number of piracy and armed robbery attacks against merchant ships, an international gathering of key maritime stakeholders discussed the major risks, responses and challenges in a changing threat environment.
These discussions took place at the IMB International Meeting on Global Piracy, Armed Robbery and Maritime Security on 14 and 15 September in Kuala Lumpur, where more than 200 delegates from 30 countries assembled. Reflecting the cooperation between civil and commercial entities, the meeting organised by the ICC International Maritime Bureau was co-hosted by the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, Interpol and the Royal Malaysian Police.
The keynote speech delivered by the Malaysian Deputy Home Minister commented on the resurgence of piracy and armed robbery in Southeast Asia, stressing the importance of maritime domain to Malaysia and the need for cooperation with neighbours in the region in order to apprehend the kingpins behind the piracy activity.
The Inspector General of the Royal Malaysian Police further stated that it will be useful to conduct a detailed review of the laws and conventions affecting the prosecution of pirates, with a view towards incorporating UNCLOS into Malaysian domestic law in order to ensure that criminals can be prosecuted.
To improve this situation participants considered how a common worldwide information sharing framework could expedite naval and law enforcement forces responses to better protect seafarers.
Pottengal Mukundan, director of IMB said: “Information sharing and coordinated action between concerned coastal states is crucial in responding to this threat. However, the proliferation of reporting centres in different regions has created a degree of confusion that can leave seafarers and ships unnecessarily at risk.”