IMO Secretary-General condemns attacks against international shipping

The initial target were ships linked to Israel, but the information we have received in recent events seems that this doesn't seem to be the case at the moment.

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Arsenio Dominguez, Secretary-General, IMO, addressed the United Nations Security Council

Statement by Arsenio Dominguez, Secretary-General, IMO, at Maintenance of International Peace and Security – United Nations Security Council, 9525th meeting

Firstly, let me start by reiterating my condemnation of the attacks against international shipping in the Red Sea area and reiterate the strong commitment of the International Maritime Organization to protect seafarers, ships and cargoes, which is the utmost importance to ensure the safety and security of global supply chains.

Attacks against international shipping in the Red Sea area are not acceptable.  

Ships must be allowed to trade worldwide unhindered and in accordance with international law.

Since the beginning of November, a number of attacks have been launched against international vessels navigating in this vital shipping lane that records around 15% of international shipping trade.

The initial target were ships linked to Israel, but the information we have received in recent events seems that this doesn’t seem to be the case at the moment.

The International Maritime Organization continues to closely monitor the situation and liaise with the industry representatives and navies.

A significant number of companies, around 18 shipping companies have already decided to re-route their vessels around south Africa in order to reduce the attacks on vessels and of course the impact this has on seafarers in particular.

This represents an additional adds 10 days to the journey and of course a negative impact on trade and an increase in freight rates.

On Monday 18 December, an Extraordinary Meeting of the members of the Djibouti Code of conduct (DCoC) was held to discuss how to deal with increasing threats against international shipping in the Red Sea Area. This meeting was attended by representatives from Signatory States of the Djibouti Code of Conduct and its Jeddah Amendment, international and regional naval forces, regional centres, and maritime industry stakeholders. The meeting called for enhanced security measures, including coordination among signatory States, navies, and the industry, and continuous meetings/reviews and submission of recommendations to the International Maritime Organization and the United Nations Security Council.

The International Maritime Organization has an EU funded regional programme for maritime security in the Red Sea area, and we use this as a major capacity-building project targeting the southern Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

And through this initiative, IMO, INTERPOL, UNODC, and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), we continue to engage in coordinated actions to develop capacities and promote adequate security and safety standards for maritime, port and land-based law-enforcement authorities across Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen.

I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate the call for de-escalation to ensure safety of our seafarers, freedom of navigation and stability of supply chains.

The International Maritime Organization IMO will continue to monitor the situation in collaboration with our Member States, partners from the industry and navies.

I would like to express appreciation also for the work undertaken by DCoC Member States and encourage Member States to use it as a forum to ensure communication among all countries in the region.

Furthermore and as a practical exercise and following measures of safety of navigation I would like to encourage ships to continue sending an initial report when entering the Voluntary Reporting Area (VRA) to the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operation Centre and other relevant centres in the region, as this covers the entire Red Sea and ships should send an initial report when clearing Suez or when crossing boundaries in the Indian Ocean.

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