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Saudi Arabia signs Djibouti Anti-Piracy Code

Saudi Arabia becomes 13th country to deal with piracy at sea by signing the Code of Conduct on the Suppression of Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in the Western Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden (Djibouti Code of Conduct)

The Djibouti Code of Conduct was adopted by a regional meeting on maritime security, piracy and armed robbery against ships for Western Indian Ocean, Gulf of Aden and Red Sea States. Its first meeting was held in January 2009 and initially signed by nine countries. Currently, it has been signed by Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Maldives, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan, United Republic of Tanzania and Yemen.

Countries abiding by the Code have agreed to ensure their national legislation is in place to criminalize piracy and armed robbery against ships by maintaining adequate provisions within their jurisdiction to conduct investigations and prosecute alleged offenders. The Code also shares piracy information from centers established in Sana'a in Yemen, Mombasa in Kenya and Dar es Salaam in the United Republic of Tanzania. A training center for piracy is to be established in Djibouti.

Dr. Jubarah Bin Eid Alsuraisry, Minister of Transport of Saudi Arabia, signed the Code on behalf of the Saudi Government, during an official visit to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Headquarters in London.

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, following the instructions of King Abdullah, exerts every effort to build bridges of co-operation with countries all over the world, especially by taking initiatives and participating in an effective way in order to achieve stability and world security, whether through the United Nations and its specialized agencies, or through continuous co-operation with all countries in this field,” Dr. Jubarah Bin Eid Alsuraisry said.

IMO Secretary-General Efthimios E. Mitropoulos congratulated Saudi Arabia for its signing of the Djibouti Code of Conduct and said, “The unabated acts of piracy, not only in waters off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden but also in the wider expanse of the western Indian Ocean, continue to be in the public spotlight. Our concern should, above all, be for the safety of life at sea and the well-being of the seafarers and other victims involved and their respective families. We should, therefore, not rest unless and until all the necessary measures to suppress and eradicate piracy have been taken. Saudi Arabia’s support of the Djibouti Code of Conduct and its willingness to protect international shipping by deploying naval forces are important contributions to confront piracy.”

Saudi Arabia has been a Member of IMO since 1969 and it actively supports IMO’s technical cooperation activities, including contributions to the IMO Maritime Security Fund and its Integrated Technical Co-operation Program. Saudi Arabia has provided bilateral financial support for activities to ensure maritime safety, security and environmental protection in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore.
To assist in the implementation of the Djibouti Code of Conduct, a program of activities has been developed within IMO and is already underway.

It includes the following projects:

• Regional activities to review national legislation on piracy, (conducted in co operation with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC));
• The establishment of a training center in Djibouti to train key personnel from the region;
• The establishment and operation of the three above-mentioned information-sharing centers;
• Workshops to train national focal points and staff of the information-sharing centers;
• The training of coast guard and other personnel entrusted with law enforcement roles; and
• Initiatives for enhancing maritime situational awareness.
Four new posts have been created at IMO specifically for promoting, and providing support to, the implementation of the Djibouti Code of Conduct. The four posts are: Head, Project Implementation Unit; Project Officer (Operations); Project Officer (Technical); and Project Officer (Legal).