The speakers included (from left to right): Harry Harper, Security Advisor Ports, ADPC, Peter Harriman, Lieutenant Commander Royal Navy and Officer-in-Charge at the UKMTO, Alan Johnson, Area Representative, Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) Line, Chief Petty Officer Gemma Stollery RN, United Kingdom Maritime Component Command (UKMCC), and Commander Paul Dunn OBE RN, UKMCC.
Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC) has extended its collaboration with the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) to continue its efforts to fight maritime piracy within the region.
ADPC and the UKMTO, which is made up of serving UK Royal Naval personnel, International and Merchant Navy Liaison Officers, recently invited industry and other related organizations to the Maritime Information Exchange Vessel Operators Meeting (MIEVOM) which was held recently at the ADPC headquarters at Zayed Port.
For the first time, MIEVOM was hosted by ADPC and took place in Abu Dhabi. Maritime professionals from the GCC region and Asia attended the meeting which had been organized to update the local shipping industry on piracy issues and offered all participants the opportunity to exchange ideas and views on counter piracy and security related matters.
In addition to hosting the meeting, ADPC has agreed to further support the work of the UKMTO and enable its personnel to deliver valuable counter piracy briefings for vessels calling at ADPC ports.
Already permitted to work in Zayed Port, ADPC has now decided, with the container terminal operator – Abu Dhabi Terminals – that the UKMTO can extend its work to cover ships in Khalifa Port.
The initiative offers comprehensive briefings on the Best Management Practices (BMP) to counter piracy attacks, as recommended by the International Maritime Organization. The UKMTO also updates ship management on recent piracy incidents or suspicious situations and offers impartial advice.
“Despite the fact that piracy has reached a five year low, it remains a serious threat in our waters and we advocate all measures to fight it”, said Abdulkareem Al Masabi, VP Khalifa Port, ADPC, during MIEVOM.
“Many of our customers visiting our ports are transiting high risk areas – such as the Gulf of Aden. This service can help keep vessels safe and reduce risks. ADPC is keen to support and provide services like this to our customers wherever possible.”
Lieutenant Commander Peter Harriman RN, Officer-in-Charge at the UKMTO, added: “The UKMTO has been supporting merchant shipping in the region for many years now. We have established a comprehensive communications network involving merchant vessels and the responsible authorities, and we share information and liaise with both the merchant shipping community and military forces in the region.”
“The UKMTO is the first point of contact for vessels transiting the high risk area”, Lt Cdr Harriman explained. “We also visit ports throughout the UAE to update masters on recent piracy incidents and the use of BMP and I welcome ADPC’s decision to extend our foot-print to Khalifa Port”.
Piracy in the Gulf of Aden and other oceans is an international issue. Over the past four years the total amount of ransoms paid globally added up to USD 286 million, with the estimated economic costs between USD 7- 12 USD. While the number of incidents has dropped with the widespread use of armed guards on board vessels, the issue is still a current one.
The majority of global trade is carried by ship – over 90% – and a huge amount passes through the Gulf of Aden, traveling between Asia and Europe. The safety of merchant ships is a top priority for governments around the world.