WASHINGTON, October 22, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – Fact Sheet
Bureau of Political-Military Affairs
October 21, 2013
The Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia was created on January 14, 2009 pursuant to UN Security Council Resolution 1851. This voluntary ad hoc international forum brings together over 80 countries, organizations, and industry groups with a shared interest in combating piracy. Chaired in 2013 by the United States, the Contact Group coordinates political, military, and non-governmental efforts to tackle piracy off the coast of Somalia, ensure that pirates are brought to justice, and support regional states to develop sustainable maritime security capabilities. The European Union will assume the chairmanship in 2014.
Through its five thematic working groups, the Contact Group draws on a wide range of international expertise and adopts a problem-solving approach to piracy, working closely with Somali officials from the central government and regional administrations and officials in Indian Ocean States. Working Group 1, chaired by the United Kingdom, focuses on operational naval coordination, information sharing, and capacity building; Working Group 2, chaired by Denmark, addresses legal and judicial issues; Working Group 3, chaired by the Republic of Korea, works closely with the shipping industry to enhance awareness and build capabilities among seafarers transiting the region; Working Group 4, chaired by Egypt, aims at raising public awareness of the dangers of piracy; and Working Group 5, chaired by Italy, focuses on disrupting the pirate criminal enterprise ashore, including the illicit financial flows associated with maritime piracy.
This unique international partnership is contributing to a significant decline in piracy off the Horn of Africa. The last successful pirate attack on a major merchant vessel in the region occurred on May 10, 2012.
• A physician from the United Nations Hostage Support Program (UNHSP) visited hostages from the M/V ALBEDO in late August and mid September to treat 11 crewmen held captive for nearly three years. The men were suffering from rashes and infections , and required medicine for malaria, controlling blood pressure and stomach ailments caused by drinking dirty water.
• The UNHSP visited released hostages and families in Doha, London and Dubai and documented that little or no help has been provided for these seafarers since their release.
US Department of State