US warship in the Gulf of Aden near Somalia. The piracy of cargo ships have been a major source of distress for commercial tankers over the last several months., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Somalia: Contact Group On Piracy Off the Coast of Somalia Meets in New York
29 March 2012Comment
Washington, DC — The United States will join partners from nearly 70 countries, international organizations, and the private sector at the United Nations in New York on March 29 for a plenary meeting of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia.
The Contact Group is a broad and growing diplomatic effort taking action against criminal activity that threatens commerce and humanitarian aid deliveries along one of the world's busiest shipping corridors.
The plenary, hosted by the United Arab Emirates, will be the eleventh gathering of this outstanding international partnership. Since its initial meeting in January 2009, the Contact Group has nearly tripled in size. This is a testament to the global consensus that piracy poses a shared security challenge to maritime safety and to the need for further concerted and coordinated international action.
Among its accomplishments to date, the Contact Group has:
-Facilitated coordination of international naval patrols through the operational coordination of an unprecedented international naval effort from more than 30 countries working together to protect transiting vessels. The United States coordinates these efforts with multilateral coalitions such as NATO's Operation Ocean Shield and the European Union's Operation ATALANTA. The United States also looks to further develop counter-piracy cooperation with several other nations deploying forces to the international counter-piracy effort, including China, India, Japan, and Russia.
-Partnered with the shipping industry to improve practical steps merchant ships and crews can take to avoid, deter, delay, and counter pirate attacks. The shipping industry's use of Best Management Practices and the increasing use of Privately Contracted Armed Security Personnel are among these measures that have proven to be the most effective deterrents against pirate attacks.
-Strengthened the capacity of Somalia and other countries in the region to combat piracy, in particular by contributing to the UN Trust Fund Supporting Initiatives of States
-Countering Piracy off the Coast of Somalia; and
-Advanced a new initiative aimed at disrupting the pirates' financial and logistical networks ashore through approaches similar to those used to target other types of organized transnational criminal networks.