Statement by H.E. Mr. Yuriy Sergeyev
Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the United Nations
at the Security Council open debate
on “Maintenance of International Peace and Security: Piracy”
(19 November 2012)
On behalf of the Delegation of Ukraine I would like to thank India’s Presidency for convening an open debate on such a relevant and pressing issue as maritime piracy.
While aligning itself with the statement by the European Union, my Delegation would like to intervene in its national capacity.
Maritime security and law enforcement at sea are indispensable factors of maintaining not only regional but international peace and security. Therefore the problem of piracy and armed robbery at sea requires most coherent and complex response. In this light, Ukraine is pleased that the Security Council for the first time is deliberating on piracy and armed robbery at sea across regions. Such an integrated and comprehensive approach will enable us to better deal with this scourge by making full use of the successful experiences gained so far on the regional level and exploring ways of sharing knowledge on anti-piracy measures from South-East Asia, off the Coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Guinea. Those lessons can be applied for the prevention of maritime piracy and armed robbery in other potentially vulnerable areas.
We commend the recent gains made by international community in fighting piracy. In waters off the coast of Somalia our collective measures have resulted in a sharp decline in pirate attacks and hijackings compared to the last year. However, according to the latest Secretary-General’s report on this matter, the current declining trend is fully dependent on the naval presence in the region, implementation of IMO guidance and BMPs, and prosecution of pirates. Ukraine fully support the Secretary-Generals’ concern that this initial success can be easily reversed, until the root causes of piracy, namely instability, lawlessness and lack of effective governance in Somalia are properly addressed. It should be noted that one of the first steps towards framing a comprehensive approach to address the root causes of piracy was made during the first-ever General Assembly thematic debate on this issue in May 2010 on the initiative of Ukraine. We look forward to further efforts to this end in the framework of the United Nations, including the Security Council.
As to the emerging challenges of attacks against merchant ships at sea in the Gulf of Guinea, Ukraine shares the Security Council’s deep concern about the threat they are posing to international navigation and, in particular, to the safety of seafarers. We encourage States in the region and regional organizations to enhance their efforts to ensure maritime safety and security in the Gulf of Guinea, including through developing a legal framework for the prevention and repression of piracy and armed robbery at sea as well as prosecution of persons engaging in those crimes. We believe that the successful naval and judicial capacity building measures applied in other regions should be taken into due account with respect to the situation in the Gulf of Guinea.
In this regard we must admit that the fight against impunity of Somali pirates has brought tangible results up to date with eleven hundred and eighty six individuals prosecuted or being awaiting prosecution in twenty one States. Much success has been achieved in addressing piracy and bringing to justice its perpetrators and facilitators in the Asian region. In general, a lot of useful recommendations have been developed with respect to law enforcement, evidence collection, judicial aspects, post-trial transfers and imprisonment of convicted pirates. Ukraine is of the view that those tools are worth being systemized for its better domestic application by Member States. Thus, my Delegation came up with an idea of elaborating within the United Nations model counter-piracy legislation which would facilitate the apprehension and prosecution by Member States of those engaged in piracy and armed robbery. Ukraine believes that this would help us efficiently apply on the national level the existing international law as reflected in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. We encourage our fellow colleagues to actively discuss this idea at the General Assembly consultations on the Law of the Sea which are now going.
Ukraine is greatly affected by the threat of piracy and armed robbery against ships, as some thirty eight thousand Ukrainian nationals – commercial seafarers are currently employed in the world shipping industry. Being highly concerned with their welfare, Ukraine welcomes the current efforts aimed at developing guidance to address care for seafarers who have suffered from pirate attacks or hostage situations. We urge flag States and ship owners to further do their utmost in ensuring security of crew members.
As one of the major States of seafarers’ origin Ukraine has continuously supported international efforts in securing the safety of maritime shipping. Most recently the decision has been taken by the Government of Ukraine to join NATO Operation Ocean Shield. A flagship of the Ukrainian Naval Forces Frigate “Hetman Sahaidachniy” with a deck helicopter and a group of Special Forces on board is currently preparing to head for the waters off the Horn of Africa for the purpose of patrolling areas of pirates’ activities as a part of Ocean Shield.
Ukraine commends the United Nations and its competent agencies for their active role and engagement in countering maritime piracy, and remains committed to the international efforts to curb this threat.
I thank you.