Feb 23, 2009

Government announces inquiry into maritime piracy

Government announces inquiry into maritime piracy

MEDIA RELEASE

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

February 23 2009

I have asked the Inspector of Transport Security, Mr Mick Palmer AO APM, to undertake a comprehensive inquiry into international maritime piracy.

Mr Palmer’s inquiry will assess the current security arrangements covering Australian crews and ships, and is in response to the recent spate of piracy incidents.

The inquiry will investigate the impact, or potential impact, of piracy on Australian registered and international trading ships including their crews and passengers. It will also examine the effect of piracy on Australian maritime trade.

In 2008 there were 293 reported cases of piracy worldwide – 66 of these occurred in South East Asia.

The Australian economy is particularly reliant on the global maritime industry, with 99 per cent of its exports transported by sea.

The Government is acting to make sure Australia has an appropriate framework in place to safeguard our maritime industry, our international trade effort and the many Australians who travel through international waters every year.

The inquiry further demonstrates the Australian Governments’ commitment to address the worldwide problem of piracy and armed robbery at sea. Last December we co-sponsored a resolution at the United Nations to strengthen international efforts to fight piracy.

The Inspector will liaise closely with the United Nations, the International Maritime Organisation and other international maritime bodies to make sure Australia’s efforts complement wider international initiatives.

The Inspector will present his report by the end of September 2009.