DP World calls for a comprehensive, inclusive approach to deliver a long term, sustainable solution to maritime piracyJun 27, 2012 - 07:09 -
WAM Dubai, 27 June 2012 (WAM) -- Viewing piracy as a matter of grave international concern, the UAE called today for a comprehensive, inclusive approach that can deliver a long term, sustainable solution to the problem.
''Piracy's destabilizing impact can only be mitigated through collaboration across political, military, financial and legal arenas. The need of the hour is to explore new ways to secure the freedom of those held captive, curb the reach of the pirates, provide comprehensive support to Somalia, and crystalise the unified stance created by our Public-Private Partnership,'' Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, DP World Chairman, said in his opening address to the 2nd high-level, public-private UAE Counter-Piracy Conference, co-convened by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and global marine terminal operator DP World.
''Piracy is a matter of grave international concern, but, importantly, it is happening in our region and is therefore a matter of significant concern for everyone in this region. It is shocking that, even as we are gathered here, pirates are holding more than 200 seafarers captive, in often appalling conditions.'' ''The trauma, fear and unspeakable suffering these innocent people and their families are going through is difficult to imagine. You will have the opportunity to hear something of the impact on those lives in the documentary to be screened shortly,'' he told more than 400 delegates including foreign ministers, United Nations International Maritime Organisation, industry leaders, welfare organisations and academic experts.
''This unacceptable and on-going human tragedy, as well as the impact on economies and the flow on impact of that on communities, is what constantly drives the UAE Government and DP World to bring global focus to the problem.
For the fifth year running the busiest sea-borne trade route in the world, the Gulf of Aden and the western Indian Ocean region, continues to be held to ransom by a relatively small but aggressive group of pirates,'' he remarked.
''The good news is, for the first time in five years attacks on merchant shipping in the waters off Somalia are down. Compared with 176 incidents in 2011, there have been around 30 in the six months of this year, and the pirates' success rate has been halved from 28% in 2009 to 14% last year.
However, he regretted, the violence is escalating: the number of seafarers dying as a result of piracy has tripled from 8 to 24 during the same two year period. So far, since 2007, 62 seafarers have died as a direct result of piracy in this part of the world.
''Today we are gathered here in the hope that by carrying forward this important dialogue, we will be able to take the Public Private Partnership we began last year to a higher level of collaboration.
''For its part, over the past four years the UAE has rolled out more than US$ 25 million of humanitarian and financial assistance in Somalia, with a focus on healthcare ''We at DP World have made good headway with our ROADS project in partnership with local governments, USAID and FHI, to build a network of clinics/vocational training centres and rest stops along major arteries linking ports with inland population centres in East Africa.
''We are in the final stretch towards construction of the first of these facilities.
The fact is that attacks by pirates not just endanger the lives of hundreds of seafarers and disrupt vital economic activities, they also undermine efforts to restore prosperity and stability to Somalia.
''That is why the UAE Government and DP World strongly advocate a comprehensive, inclusive approach that can deliver a long term, sustainable solution to the problem.
''The economic consequences for trade cannot be over-stated, especially in view of the prevailing global uncertainties. One recent study suggests that Somali piracy cost the international community up to US$ 6.9 billion in 2011 - that is a billion dollars more than Somalia's GDP.
In his keynote address , President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, Transitional Federal Government of Somalia, paid gratitude to the government and people of the UAE for hosting the important conference which is expected to issue effective resolutions supporting Somalia's drive against piracy.
He also praised the UAE for offering economic, social and humanitarian assistance to his country and appreciated the international engagement in that respect.
The Somali president gave the delegates an overview of the situation in his country, its anti-piracy efforts and challenges and what is expecting from the international family to empower it in the coming stage.
He appealed to the international community to support Somali police forces technically so as to able to fight piracy. He said Somalia needs development aid to create job opportunities to youth.