You are here

IMO Sec-Gen. Arsenio Dominguez Raises Concern for Seafarers at UN Security Council

Dominguez Raises Concern for Seafarers at UN Security Council
January 3, 2024

Arsenio Dominguez, Secretary-General of the IMO, addressed the United Nations Security Council at its 9,525th meeting reiterating his condemnation of the attacks against international shipping in the Red Sea.

“Attacks against international shipping in the Red Sea area are not acceptable,” he said. “Ships must be allowed to trade worldwide unhindered and in accordance with international law.”

Since the beginning of November, a number of attacks have been launched against international vessels navigating in the Red Sea which hosts around 15% of international shipping trade. The initial target were ships linked to Israel, but the information this doesn't seem to be the case at the moment, he said.

“Around 18 shipping companies have already decided to re-route their vessels around south Africa in order to reduce the attacks on vessels and of course the impact this has on seafarers in particular. This represents an additional adds 10 days to the journey and of course a negative impact on trade and an increase in freight rates.”

On December 18, an extraordinary meeting of the members of the Djibouti Code of conduct (DCoC) was held to discuss how to deal with increasing threats against international shipping in the Red Sea Area. This meeting was attended by representatives from signatory states of the Djibouti Code of Conduct and its Jeddah Amendment, international and regional naval forces, regional centres, and maritime industry stakeholders. The meeting called for enhanced security measures, including coordination among signatory states, navies, and the industry, and continuous meetings/reviews and submission of recommendations to the IMO and the United Nations Security Council.

“The IMO has an EU funded regional program for maritime security in the Red Sea area, and we use this as a major capacity-building project targeting the southern Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden,” said Dominguez. “And through this initiative, IMO, INTERPOL, UNODC, and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), we continue to engage in coordinated actions to develop capacities and promote adequate security and safety standards for maritime, port and land-based law-enforcement authorities across Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen.

“I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate the call for de-escalation to ensure safety of our seafarers, freedom of navigation and stability of supply chains.”

He expressed appreciation also for the work undertaken by DCoC member states and encouraged them to use it as a forum to ensure communication among all countries in the region.

“Furthermore, and as a practical exercise and following measures of safety of navigation, I would like to encourage ships to continue sending an initial report when entering the Voluntary Reporting Area to the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operation Centre and other relevant centres in the region, as this covers the entire Red Sea and ships should send an initial report when clearing Suez or when crossing boundaries in the Indian Ocean.”