The Asian Shipowners’ Forum has called for a United Nations resolution that would see the international body sponsor and manage armed personnel on board ships sailing through pirate-infested waters.
The call, in a statement released by ASF on Wednesday, follows the group’s proposal to Working Group 3 of the Contact Group for Piracy Off Coast of Somalia in Washington on February 28.
It said that the proposed deployment could “serve as a mitigation measure while expecting a much-awaited UN resolution on the root cause of the Somali piracy problem on land”.
Working Group 3 was created under UN Security Resolution 1951 three years ago as a voluntary international forum bringing together countries, organisations, and industry groups with an interest in combating piracy.
“The ASF has proposed its counter-piracy proposal to be seriously considered for adoption by the UN,” the statement said.
“If adopted, the ASF would expect armed military personnel sponsored and managed by the UN to provide much needed protection to merchant ships and their crews in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean.
“The key idea is to use floating bases on sea to serve as embarkation or disembarkation points for these military personnel.”
The ASF says it communicated the details of the proposal to Working Group 3 at the February meeting and expected it to be referred to Working Group 1, which covers military and operational co-ordination on piracy, information sharing and capacity building.
ASF first proposed a UN anti-piracy military task force in September, calling for armed military guards to be deployed in small detachments on board merchant ships to protect them during their transit of the Indian Ocean. It then proposed the concept of floating bases in February.
The ASF is a voluntary organisation of shipowners’ associations of Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, South Korea, and the Federation of ASEAN Shipowners’ Associations. It is seeking support for its proposal from the international shipping community.