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Piracy in the Gulf of Aden.



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Adam Siddique 0407 473 630 (Mr Smith’s Office) Jeff Singleton 0410 476 890 (Mr Albanese’s Office)

J O I N T M E D I A R E L E A S E

The Hon Stephen Smith MP Minister for Foreign Affairs

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government

PIRACY IN THE GULF OF ADEN

The Australian Government is deeply concerned at the recent significant increase in piracy-related incidents in the Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Somalia, and at the threat these incidents pose to innocent life and the maritime industry. These incidents have included the seizing of cargo vessels, and attacks on cruise ships, including some carrying Australian passengers.

To underline our serious concern, Australia was one of 18 United Nations Members States to co-sponsor United Nations Security Council Resolution 1846, which was adopted unanimously by the Security Council on 2 December. Resolution 1846 strengthens international efforts to fight piracy off the coast of Somalia by expanding the mandate of States and regional organisations working with Somali officials towards that aim.

In addition to this diplomatic action, on 4 December, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government issued strengthened advice respectively to Australians considering travelling by sea through the Gulf of Aden and to security regulated Australian ships.

The revised travel advice for Australians travelling at sea notes that attacks by pirates against all forms of shipping in and around Somalia’s waters and the Gulf of Aden are increasing in frequency and that in early December 2008, pirates in the Gulf of Aden made an unsuccessful attempt to hijack the Oceania Nautica. The advice urges Australians to maintain a high level of vigilance and to exercise extreme caution when anywhere near these waters.

To complement this advice the Office of Transport Security issued a Maritime Security Notice (2-08) to security regulated Australian ships on protective security arrangements for transiting through high risk shipping lanes.

Maritime Security Notice (2-08) advises regulated Australian ships to apply a robust and layered protective security regime, including exercising a high level of vigilance and extreme caution and stringent access control measures, in particular when transiting through the Gulf of Aden or accessing waters off the coast of Somalia and neighbouring waters.

We encourage Australians considering travelling by sea through the Gulf of Aden (including on cruise ships) and security regulated Australian ships to give very close consideration to the Australian Government’s strengthened advice on this matter.

5 December 2008