BIMCO's position has been approved by the BIMCO Board of Directors.
The framework for the repression of piracy under international law is mainly set out in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which came into force in 1994. According to UNCLOS, states have an obligation to cooperate in the repression of piracy to the fullest possible extent. In international waters (i.e. outside the territorial waters) all states have universal jurisdiction (ie all states can act) to seize pirate ships, or a ship taken by piracy and under the control of pirates, and arrest the persons on board. Thus, these states’ rights apply in all coastal states’ Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) and on the high seas.
Effective implementation of UNCLOS in national law is key to reduce acts of piracy and other violent criminal acts at sea. Per definition, armed robbery can occur in internal waters and within the limit of the territorial sea (ie up to 12 nautical miles from the base line) of a coastal state and in such cases the primary responsibility for enforcement normally falls on the coastal state.
The piracy threat is the combination of pirates’ opportunity, capability and intent to attack shipping. In the past, the shipping industry designated a piracy High Risk Area (HRA) for Somali piracy because at the time the threat was sufficiently high to warrant it. However, with the Somali piracy threat now diminished to a low level, it has been decided to remove the Somali piracy HRA per 1 January 2023. Although the threat from Nigerian pirates has for a long time been high enough to warrant definition of an HRA, the shipping industry has abstained from doing so for political reasons.
BIMCO’s strategic aim is to see the eradication of piracy and armed robbery at sea. Only then will seafarers’ safety and freedom of navigation be assured, without the need for self-protection measures and additional insurance premiums.
Veritas Petroleum Services (VPS) publish regular Bunker Alerts based entirely on fuel samples and have kindly permitted BIMCO’s Members to access this information.
The Bunker Alerts are not intended to be an evaluation of overall bunker quality in the port or area concerned, but usually highlight a specific parameter within the fuel which has raised a quality issue.
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