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Statement by the President of the Security Council

August 09, 2021

The Security Council reaffirms its primary responsibility under the Charter of the United Nations for the maintenance of international peace and security, as well as its commitment to uphold the purposes and principles of the Charter.

The Security Council reaffirms that international law, as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 (UNCLOS), sets out the legal framework applicable to activities in the oceans, including countering illicit activities at sea.

The Security Council notes with concern the ongoing threats to maritime safety and security posed by piracy, armed robbery at sea, terrorists’ travel and use of sea to conduct crimes and acts against shipping, offshore installations, critical infrastructure, and other maritime interests. The Security Council notes the continuing problem of transnational organized crimes committed at sea, including illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, smuggling of migrants, trafficking in persons and illicit trafficking in firearms, and also notes the other illicit activities. The Security Council notes the deplorable loss of life and adverse impact on international trade, energy security and the global economy resulting from such activities and, in this regard, emphasizes the importance of safeguarding the legitimate uses of the oceans and the lives of people at sea, as well as the livelihoods and security of coastal communities.

The Security Council reaffirms that international law, as reflected in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the UN Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances and the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants on Land, Sea and Air supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crimes provide the legal framework applicable to, inter alia, combating illicit activities at sea, and further recalls the 1988 Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation (SUA Convention), the 1988 Protocol of the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Fixed Platforms Located on the Continental Shelf (1988 SUA Protocol), and their 2005 Protocols which broadly establish the framework for collaboration between States Parties.

The Security Council calls upon Member States to consider, as appropriate, ratifying, or acceding to, and implementing the 2000 United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) and the Protocols thereto, the 1988 United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (1988 Narcotic Drugs Convention), the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, the SUA Convention and its 2005 Protocol, and the 1988 SUA Protocol. The Security Council further encourages Member States to designate the authority, or, where necessary, authorities to receive and respond to requests for assistance, for confirmation of nationality, and for authorization to take appropriate measures in accordance with these conventions.

The Security Council calls upon Member States to effectively implement the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code and Chapter XI – 2 of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, and to work with the International Maritime Organization to promote safe and secure shipping while ensuring freedom of navigation in accordance with applicable international laws.

The Security Council recognizes the efforts of States in the regions concerned with adopting relevant measures in accordance with the relevant framework established by international law to counter transnational organized crime, piracy, and armed robbery at sea.

The Security Council acknowledges that terrorists may benefit from transnational organized crime in specific contexts and regions, and calls upon Member States, including through relevant competent authorities of States, to consider the ratification and implementation of global instruments as well as their participation in national, regional and global initiatives that aim to build capacity to prevent and counter the illicit trafficking, including through seaports and at sea, of natural resources, arms, drugs, cultural property, and illicit trade in direct support of terrorism networks, as well as trafficking in persons.

The Security Council acknowledges that terrorists may target vulnerable targets, including critical infrastructure and public places, and specifically the transportation sector, including seaports and maritime transport, as well as interconnected critical infrastructure which underlines the importance of enhanced cooperation to protect critical infrastructure, including cross-border infrastructure and calls upon Member States to implement relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

The Security Council recognizes the importance of enhancing international and regional cooperation to counter threats to maritime safety and security. The Security Council, in this regard, commends the efforts by regional and sub-regional organizations and individual countries to enhance maritime security, including through sharing information in the maritime domain.

The Security Council welcomes mutual legal assistance and other forms of law enforcement cooperation against transnational organized crime at sea, including bilateral or regional agreements or arrangements, and urges Member States to use, where applicable, the relevant provisions of the applicable legal instruments, including the UNTOC and its Protocols, to facilitate such cooperation.

The Security Council further welcomes the creation of platforms like the Indian Ocean Forum on Maritime Crime of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and the exchange of liaison magistrates and regional cooperation networks of prosecutors and central authorities, to facilitate legal cooperation, investigation and prosecution of criminal networks and welcomes continued work by UNODC, upon request of Member States.

The Security Council recognizes the need to strengthen the capacity of Member States, upon their request, to take effective measures against transnational organized crimes at sea, and invites Member States to share their experiences with other Member States, the UNODC and the International Maritime Organization on the possible gaps and vulnerabilities in that regard.

The Security Council encourages the United Nations, as well as regional and subregional organizations to continue their endeavours in assisting Member States in their capacity-building and in sharing effective practices to prevent and combat terrorism at sea. The Security Council further encourages the relevant UN Global Counterterrorism Compact entities to continue their capacity building programmes in that regard.

The Security Council welcomes the establishment of the UNODC Southern Route Partnership to bring together countries affected by the maritime heroin trade across the Indian Ocean, as well as other initiatives in establishing regional maritime crime fora with the aim of strengthening cooperation, coordination and sharing of information among states involved in tackling trafficking at sea.

The Security Council encourages Member States to continue building and strengthening their capacities to enhance maritime safety and security, including against piracy and armed robbery at sea and terrorist activities, as well as against all forms of transnational organized crimes and other illicit activities in the maritime domain through the competent organizations and instruments.

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