Thursday, 11 August 2011

Three largest Flag States join to document pirate violence against mariners

The three largest flag states- the Republic of Panama, the Republic of Liberia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands have together signed a declaration affirming their commitment to supply information provided to them following acts of piracy or armed robbery on ships to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB). The declaration was signed at a ceremony at the National Press Club in Washington, DC in the presence of IMB and 'Oceans Beyond Piracy' (OBP) officials; the initiative is a result of OBP's working group. The US State Department, intelligence and naval investigation officials were also present.

It is hoped that this declaration by flag states responsible, between themselves, for 40% of global tonnage will do much to better gauge the “human cost of piracy.” The plan, which is being funded by OBP and the TK foundation, will see the IMB collecting statements from seafarers who have been subjected to mistreatment and torture at the hands of pirates or because of pirate attacks. The three States will give the IMB “sanitised” statements that will exclude personal, ship or company details while sticking to the narrative of the incident- similar to maritime accident reports that are circulated today.

“We have long heard anecdotal accounts of brutality visited upon mariners by pirates,” said William Watson, vice president and governor of the Maritime Security Council and a member of the OBP working group. “Hopefully, this agreement will help quantify the mistreatment and help focus attention on this crisis.”

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