HH Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, hosted guests at the beginning of this two day conference, which was attended by more than 400 delegates including Foreign Ministers, United Nations' International Maritime Organization, industry leaders, welfare organizations and academic experts.
The Conference Keynote Address was given by President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, Transitional Federal Government of Somalia.
HH Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs, UAE, said: "The threat posed by maritime piracy to global trade, and to the region's security and economic well-being, continues to be grave. Much progress has been made since the last time leaders from government, the global maritime industry, and experts and policymakers joined together in Dubai, in April 2011."
"However, the persistence of pirate activity off the coast of Somalia reaffirms the UAE's belief that more work toward a comprehensive international counter piracy response is required. We are confident that this important meeting will contribute further to the realization of this long-term and sustainable solution to this issue of major global concern."
Prominent speakers at the event from the government sector included Reem Al Hashemy, Minister of State, UAE, Hussein Arab Isse, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, Transitional Federal Government of Somalia, Abdullahi Haji Hassan, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Transitional Federal Government of Somalia, Prof Sam Ongeri, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kenya, and Koji Sekimizu, Secretary General, International Maritime Organization.
Included among those from the global maritime industry addressing the conference were Jamal Majid Bin Thaniah, Vice Chairman, DP World, Ali Obaid Al Yabhouni, President, UAE Ship Owners Association and CEO, ADNATCO-NGSCO, Farid Salem, Executive Officer and Member of the Board, CMA CGM, Commodore (Ret) Ranjit Rai, President, Indian Maritime Foundation, and Ms Nareman Jawaid, daughter of Captain Jawaid of the MV Albedo, who, with his crew, was captured by pirates in November 2010 and who is still in captivity.
Held under the theme of "A Regional Response to Maritime Piracy: Enhancing Public Private Partnerships and Strengthening Global Engagement", the event provided a strategic platform for key international and regional stakeholders to come together to combat maritime piracy through public-private partnership initiatives, which were the highlight of the inaugural UAE Counter-Piracy Conference in April 2011.
Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed has expressed his gratitude to the UAE leadership, government and people for hosting this event, describing it as vital to Somalia's stability.
According to the EU Naval Force (EUNAVFOR) which provides escorts to merchant vessels sailing through the piracy-infested waterways, there are more than 200 seafarers currently held hostage by Somali pirates.
There have been around 30 incidents involving pirates so far this year, compared with 176 during 2011.
While the pirates' success rate has been halved from 28% in 2009 to 14% last year, the level of violence used on seafarers has escalated according to the same source.
Source: WAM; Photo: Khaleej Times