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The tension in the Red Sea poses a serious threat to global maritime security and commerce

17/04/2024 09:37

The attacks in the Red Sea have had a negative impact on global trade and economy, as maritime transport accounts for over 80% of the total volume of goods traded.

According to the Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), Arsenio Dominguez, incidents such as the sinking of the Rubymar and the attack on the True Confidence in the Red Sea pose a serious threat to global maritime security, safety, and trade, both globally and in the countries within the region specifically.

In an exchange with a reporter from the Vietnam News Agency at the IMO headquarters in London on April 6th, Secretary-General Arsenio Dominguez affirmed that such incidents deeply impact the global economy, directly threatening the global supply chain by disrupting container transportation, slowing down deliveries, increasing costs and inflation, and affecting energy security and food security.

The Secretary-General of the IMO stated that the primary impact of the attacks in the Red Sea is the safety of seafarers, emphasizing that the organization's top concern is ensuring the health and lives of seafarers, who work to maintain the flow of global trade.

Furthermore, the attacks in the Red Sea have a negative impact on global trade and economy, as maritime transport accounts for over 80% of the total volume of goods traded. These attacks force cargo vessels to reroute, circumventing the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa, leading to increased shipping fees. Additionally, this results in higher emissions from vessels having to travel longer distances, while the IMO is striving to reduce these emissions.

Regarding the environmental impact, Secretary-General Dominguez pointed out that the incident involving the sinking of the Rubymar, which was carrying fertilizer and sank in early March following an attack on February 18th, has had negative repercussions on the marine environment. Additionally, it poses a maritime hazard to vessels operating in the area.

The IMO has collaborated with United Nations agencies such as the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the UNEP-OCHA Joint Environment Unit, and the Emergency Marine Environment Response Group for the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden (EMERSGA) to provide technical support and deploy expert teams to Aden to assist the Yemeni government in the event of fuel or cargo spills from ships.

To support the protection of seafarers from incidents like the True Confidence, the IMO has also employed some measures previously implemented over a decade ago to combat piracy off the coast of Somalia in the Gulf of Aden. Additionally, it gathers experiences and expertise to assess and amend the organization's guidelines on safety for seafarers.

The Secretary-General of the IMO stated that the organization is closely monitoring developments in the Red Sea and implementing diplomatic measures and dialogue with all relevant parties to ensure the protection of seafarers, vessels, and cargo. The IMO is also actively coordinating with member states, UN agencies, and stakeholders in the maritime industry to gather expertise and experiences to address challenges arising from conflicts in the Red Sea.

Secretary-General Dominguez emphasized that the IMO is an important forum for bringing together relevant parties, including governments, partners, and UN agencies, to share information, seek solutions, and provide support when needed, especially long-term assistance to build capacity for regional and national agencies to enhance maritime security in the Red Sea. This is achieved through legal frameworks, maritime security strategies, and information-sharing networks.

Secretary-General Dominguez stated that 2024 marks a year of celebrating safety achievements for the IMO, with the theme "Prioritizing Safety for the Future," particularly focusing on the safety of seafarers, who play a pivotal role as the engine of maritime trade and transportation.

He believes that the IMO's slogan, which he recently chose, "No seafarers, no shipping," needs to be expanded to "No seafarers, no shipping and shopping," to convey to the public the importance not only of shipping but also of protecting seafarers worldwide.



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