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Protecting Maritime Trade

Protecting Maritime Trade

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As pirate bands continue attacks on cargo ships passing by the Horn of Africa, the United States and other nations are stepping up protective efforts in the region. An effective anti-piracy campaign will require broad support, however, and it is hoped that other nations will follow their example to police what is one of the world’s busiest and most vital shipping routes.

The effort, called the New York Declaration, was prepared in May by Panama, Liberia, the Bahamas and Marshall Islands, 4 nations that represent the world’s largest ship registries. Last week, the U.S. was joined by China, France and the United Kingdom, to commit to implement measures called for in the declaration aimed at protecting their merchant ships from piracy.

There have been 138 pirate attacks off the Horn of Africa so far this year, of which 33 succeeded in seizing ships and cargoes. Safety procedures developed and implemented by the U.S. and other Contact Group members have helped prevent other attacks, a record of success the international community can now build on.