by Douglas B. Stevenson, Director, Center for Seafarers’ Rights
On November 10, I attended a meeting of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) at the United Nations in New York as an Advisor to the United States delegation. Established in January 2009 pursuant to UN Security Resolution 1851, the international forum brings together countries, organizations, and industry groups to develop and implement counter-piracy policies and programs. The Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI) has a keen interest in these discussions and their outcomes, which affect mariners and their families.
Sixty countries, international organizations, and maritime industry groups participated in the CGPCS meeting. Since its establishment, the CGPCS has been an excellent forum for international coordination and cooperation to prevent piracy. Some of its accomplishments include facilitating cooperative military operations off the Coast of Somalia, developing Best Management Practices for vessel self-protection, and establishing the International Trust Fund to Support Initiatives of States Countering Piracy off the Coast of Somalia.
The CGPCS is devoting increased attention to the effects of piracy on seafarers. I briefed the CGPCS Working Group 3 on SCI’s clinical piracy study and presented its guidelines on Post-Piracy Care for Seafarers. During the meeting, delegates from the United States and Korea expressed their gratitude to SCI for conducting the study and producing the guidelines. Several countries, including Liberia, Marshall Islands, Norway and the Philippines are circulating the guidelines to stakeholders in their countries.