The piracy High Risk Area in the Indian Ocean will be reconfigured on December 1st to reflect the progress made in fighting piracy off the coast of Somalia. This is the outcome of an industry-led review of the High Risk Area that was conducted at the request of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia.To protect shipping and seafarers from an ever-increasing number of pirate attacks off the coast of Somalia, a piracy High Risk Area (HRA) was declared in the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean in 2010. As the international response to Somali piracy began to have an effect and no further successful Somali pirate attacks were recorded in the piracy High Risk Area since 2012, a growing number of countries in the Indian Ocean region began calling for that area to be reduced.
Maciej Popowski, Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service and EU Chair of the Contact Group said: “As chair of the Contact Group I strongly welcome this development. It reflects the progress the international community and the shipping industry have jointly made in combating piracy. Piracy however is only contained, it has not disappeared and there is a need for continued vigilance”.
The dispute over the boundaries of the HRA has been the longest and most divisive issue that the stakeholders of the Contact Group have faced since its inception in 2009. The way the piracy High Risk Area dispute has been handled and now concluded is testimony to the Contact Group model of multi-stakeholder governance. Maciej Popowski: “This reinforces the conviction that the Contact Group model can serve as an example and reference for international coordination and cooperation when the international community is confronted with complex international problems. All CGPCS stakeholders deserve to be congratulated on this resounding success.”
The Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, established in 2009, brings together a diverse but necessary coalition of states, international organisations, the private sector and civil society to fight piracy together in a coordinated manner. Mr. Maciej Popowski, Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service has been the European Union Chairperson of the CGPCS during 2014 and 2015. The EU will hand over the Chairmanship of the Contact Group to the Republic of Seychelles in 2016.