InterManager, the International Ship Managers’ Association which represents a worldwide fleet of more than 2,500 ocean‐going ships and some 100,000 crew, has condemned the lack of a co‐ordinated international effort to tackle the escalating piracy problem in the Gulf of Aden.

With more than 200 seafarers now being held hostage off the coast of Somalia, some of whom are associated with its members, InterManager is calling for a targeted military response to protect crews and ships operating in the region. And it is issuing its members with advice to help them support their ships which are obliged to sail the perilous Gulf of Aden and along the East African coastline.

Speaking on behalf of InterManager, Guy Morel, General Secretary, said: “It is unacceptable that our crews are obliged to face this kind of danger while their ships are carrying essential goods, including food and commodities, to all the world’s people.”

Calling for an increased, high‐profile military presence in the region to protect shipping traffic, Mr Morel said: “What we need now is some meaningful action which will protect our mariners and act as a deterrent to the pirates. It is no good saying ships should protect themselves. Historically the military has always protected merchant vessels during times of conflict. Now is the time for them to do much of the same – whether that be in the form of increased patrols or protected convoys. We cannot allow this situation, which gets worse by the week, to continue while our crews and their
families suffer.

“It is unclear why more swift action has not already been taken when the UN has obtained from the Somalian Government the right to pursue pirates in its territorial waters,” Mr Morel added.

In June this year, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 1816 which allows States co‐operating with Somalia’s Transitional
Federal Government, for a period of six months, to enter the countryʹs territorial waters and use ʺall necessary meansʺ to repress acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea, in a manner consistent with relevant provisions of international law. The Resolution has the backing of a letter of consent from Somalia to the President of the UN Security Council.