IMO executive: Arming crews no answer to piracy
The International Maritime Organization is concerned that the arming of crews on commercial vessels could escalate violence in the pirate-infested waters off of Somalia, a Reuters report Monday said.
The IMO, a body of the United Nations, has catalogued 81 pirate attacks between Jan. and April 20 of this year, and it cognizant of the fact that commercial carriers are considered arming their crews or providing armed escorts through the dangerous waters of the Gulf of Aden.
“Do we want to turn the whole area into a naval battle?” Nicolaos Charalambous, deputy director of IMO, told Reuters at a piracy conference in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur. “And if you are having firearms on board, where do you draw the line? Somali pirates have the capability of getting more heavy caliber weapons.”
Charalambous said that armed policing should be left to naval forces in the region, and suggested that the international community only contribute to setting up a Somalian Coast Guard when adequate stability has been achieved on land in the war-torn country.
“When you have a proper legal framework and show willingness to take action on land, then necessity of the coast guard comes into the picture,” he said at the conference.