New Year’s Greetings From the Oceans Beyond Piracy Team!
As we look back at 2016, we would first like to thank our partners at the Hostage Support Partnership, including Compass Risk, Holman Fenwick Willan, and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime for their work in gaining the safe release of the 26 remaining FV Naham 3 hostages held captive in Somalia. We would also like to thank those other maritime and government institutions that have supported our efforts to find collective and inclusive solutions to combatting piracy and other forms of violence at sea.
Looking forward to 2017, OBP will continue to focus on combatting maritime piracy, but with a broader remit of reporting and addressing other forms of violence at sea. This change of course for OBP has been reinforced by our research over the last seven years that indicates that the crime of piracy is closely linked with other illicit maritime activities, for which a long-term solution cannot be found without a more comprehensive approach. While we remain committed to our traditional priorities, we are looking to focus our efforts in the coming year on the following three areas:
- Advocating a comprehensive, inclusive, and long-term approach to reducing maritime piracy and violent maritime crime.
- Inclusive Approach. OBP believes the transparent, cross-sector approach, demonstrated by the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, was successful in addressing violent crime at sea. Accordingly, certain aspects of this cooperation could be applied to other piracy-prone areas.
- Continued Commitment. OBP will continue to foster and encourage counter-piracy cooperation and commitment from all sectors to ensure that progress against piracy is not reversed and a monitoring framework is kept in place to safeguard rapid engagement and response. Stakeholders should commit to sustainable and cost-effective vigilance, regional ownership of maritime security, and accountability for perpetrators of maritime violence.
- Maintaining public awareness on the plight of those who depend on the sea for their livelihood and are most affected by piracy and other forms of violence at sea.
- Hostage Support. OBP will continue to work with partners to free and repatriate all forgotten hostages held by Somali pirates and better educate seafarers about the growing kidnap-and-ransom risk in other piracy-prone areas.
- Improved Reporting of Crime at Sea. OBP will work with stakeholders to break down the barriers to reporting violence at sea, and to normalize the arrest, prosecution, and incarceration of those who commit acts of violence against fishers and seafarers.
- Engaging our maritime partners across a broader scope of maritime crime and violence.
- Increased Scope of Reporting Crime. OBP will work to define and report on those areas of maritime crime that fuel violence against fishers and seafarers. OBP will work to build a “Community of Reporting” across stakeholders and coastal states to inform this work.
OBP cannot reduce violence at sea alone and welcomes the opportunity to work with all partners committed to improved maritime security.
You can count on the Oceans Beyond Piracy team to remain engaged and committed, and we look forward to partnering with you in 2017.