IMO calls for immediate end to attacks in Red Sea

IMO calls for immediate end to Red Sea crisis

Members of the International Maritime Organization (IMO have urged for an immediate stop to assaults on ships and seafarers passing the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.

The IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee denounced the attacks as ‘illegal and unjustifiable’ in a resolution voted in London, stating that they posed a direct danger to the freedom of travel in one of the world’s most crucial waterways while creating significant disruptions to regional and global trade.

This is the first resolution approved by the IMO Member States on the topic since the Houthis hijacked the MV Galaxy Leader in November 2023.

Since then, around 50 marine attacks have occurred, resulting in the deaths of numerous seafarers. The 25 crew members of the Galaxy Leader are still held prisoner. The Committee advocated for their immediate and unconditional release.

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The Houthis’ reckless actions are putting innocent lives at risk, disrupting the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian aid to those who need it most, increasing the cost of this humanitarian assistance, and destabilising the region,” stated the resolution. 

The Committee advocated for peaceful communication and diplomacy to settle the problem. In particular, it asked any party with power over the Houthis to utilise such influence to put a halt to the attacks.

It emphasised that under the targeted UN arms embargo, all 176 IMO Member States are required to prevent the direct or indirect delivery of arms and associated equipment to the Houthis.

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IMO Secretary-General, Arsenio Dominguez, said: “IMO Member States are unequivocal in their condemnation of these reckless attacks.

“The maritime industry sustains the supply chains that are the lifeline of nations and populations around the world – innocent seafarers and commercial ships trading essential supplies should be free to navigate, unhindered by geopolitical tensions. I call on all governments and relevant organisations to provide maximum assistance to seafarers affected, and to spare no effort in finding a resolution to this crisis.” 

The IMO noted that it will continue to monitor the situation and engage stakeholders, in partnership with Member States and international industry associations.

The resolution passed on 23 May, urging ship operators and vessels to carefully examine the nature and unpredictability of recent events, as well as the possibility of other assaults in the area, while planning transit routes.

Sea-Intelligence’s latest analysis highlights the significant impact of the Red Sea crisis on global shipping routes. The crisis forced shipping lines to round the Cape of Good Hope, leading to longer sailing lengths and transit times.

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