Procedure : 2011/2962(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B7-0226/2012

Texts tabled :


Debates :

Votes :

PV 10/05/2012 - 12.56
CRE 10/05/2012 - 12.56
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :


PDF 137kWORD 85k
See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B7-0223/2012

to wind up the debate on the statement by the Commission

pursuant to Rule 110(2) of the Rules of Procedure

on maritime piracy (2011/2962(RSP))

Georgios Koumoutsakos, Mathieu Grosch, Michael Gahler, Roberta Angelilli, Arnaud Danjean, Carlo Fidanza, Marietta Giannakou, Anna Ibrisagic, Tunne Kelam, Krzysztof Lisek, Mario Mauro, Francisco José Millán Mon, Dominique Vlasto on behalf of the PPE Group

European Parliament resolution on maritime piracy (2011/2962(RSP))  

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to its resolution of 20 May 2008 on an integrated maritime policy for the European Union,

–   having regard to its resolutions on piracy at sea, especially the resolution of 23 October 2008 on piracy at sea and the resolution on 26 November 2009 on a political solution to the problem of piracy off the Somali coast,

–   having regard to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) of 10 December 1982,

–   having regard to the 1988 United Nations Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation,

–   having regard to UN Security Council Resolutions 1814(2008) of 15 May 2008, 1816(2008) of 2 June 2008, as well as 1851(2008) of 16 December 2008, 1897(2009) of 30 November 2009, 1950(2010) of 23 November 2010, 1976(2011) of 11 April 2011, 2015(2011) of 24 October 2011, 2020(2011) of 22 November 2011 and 2036(2012) of 22 February 2012 on the situation in Somalia,

–   having regard to the Council Joint Action 2008/749/CFSP of 19 September 2008 on the European Union military coordination action in support of UN Security Council Resolutions 1816(2008) (EU NAVCO),

–   having regard to the Council Joint Action 2008/851/CFSP of 10 November 2008 and to the Council Decision 2010/766/CFSP on a European Union military operation named ATALANTA to contribute to the protection of vessels of the World Food Programme (WFP) delivering food aid to displaced persons in Somalia; the protection of the African Union Mission on Somalia (AMISOM) shipping; and the deterrence, prevention and repression of acts of piracy and armed robbery off the Somali coast; as well as the protection of vulnerable shipping off the Somali coast on a case by case basis; in addition, EU NAVFOR – ATALANTA shall also contribute to the monitoring of fishing activities off the coast of Somalia,

–   having regard to the Council Decision of 23 March 2012 to prolong the mandate of EU‑NAVFOR ATALANTA until December 2014 and to extend the force’s area of operations,

–   having regard to the Council Decision 2010/96/CFSP of 15 February 2010 and to the Council Decision 2010/197/CFSP of 31 March 2010 on the European Union military mission to contribute to the training of Somali security forces (EUTM Somalia),

–   having regard to the Crisis Management Concept agreed by the Foreign Affairs Council on 16 December 2011 for the Council Regional Maritime Capacity Building (RMCB) mission, as a civilian CSDP mission with military expertise under preparation,

–   having regard to a Strategic Framework for the Horn of Africa to guide the EU’s engagement in the region adopted by the Council on 14 November 2011,

–   having regard to the power-sharing deal signed in Djibouti on 9 June 2008 aimed to initiate a broad-based national reconciliation and create a strong and inclusive political alliance capable of securing peace, reconciling the country and re-establishing a central state authority,

–   having regards to the conclusions of the London conference on Somalia, 23 February 2012,

–   having regard to Rule 110(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas maritime transport has been one of the key stepping stones to economic growth and prosperity in Europe throughout its history and over 80 % of world trade is carried by sea; therefore, the EU has a genuine interest in contributing to international maritime security;

B.  whereas piracy is to be considered as an international crime; whereas piracy at sea requires a coordinated response under the overarching legal framework provided by UNCLOS; whereas article 100 of the Convention provides that all states have a duty to co‑operate for the repression of piracy;

C. whereas piracy on the high seas still is not solved, though the number of successful attacks decreased significantly over last year mainly due to the activities of ATALANTA and the use of military and private Vessel Protection Detachments, but keeps on spreading rapidly in the Indian Ocean, particularly off the coasts of Somalia and the Horn of Africa, but also in some other areas, including south-east Asia and in West Africa, thus becoming a growing dangerous threat both to human life and safety of seafarers and other persons, as well as to regional development and stability, marine environment ,world trade, all forms of maritime transport and shipping, including fishing vessels as well as to the delivery of humanitarian aid;

D. whereas every year 10 000 European ships go through dangerous maritime areas and therefore, apart from the human life and safety aspect, the piracy also constitutes an economic problem as it threatens the international commercial maritime lines and leaves a significant negative impact on international trade;

E.  whereas a number of attempted attacks to vessels is increasing, in 2011 it was reported that 28 hijackings were committed, 470 seafarers were kidnapped, 15 were murdered and currently more than 7 ships are held for ransom and around 191 seafarers held hostage in Somalia sometimes under horrible and inhuman conditions for increasing periods;

F.  whereas pirates are constantly adapting their tactics and methods, and have expanded the operational radius by use of larger hijacked ships as so-called ‘motherships’;

G. whereas ongoing political instability in Somalia is one of the causes of the problem of piracy and it contributes to the problem of it, and piracy continues to be seen by some Somalis as a profitable and viable source of income;

H. whereas the fight against piracy cannot be won by military means alone, but depends mainly on success in promoting peace, development and state-building in Somalia;

I.   whereas EMSA has at its disposal instruments and data, which can help EU NAVFOR Operation ‘ATALANTA’ to improve the safety of ships and seafarers in the area;

J.   whereas the problem of piracy has also negative effects on the whole region where fishing operations are regulated by a number of bilateral and multilateral fishing agreements; those operations have become a dangerous undertaking and not only EU vessels fishing e.g. in the waters of Seychelles on the basis of a Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the EU and the Republic of Seychelles, but also for the local fishermen to whom we grant sectoral support and thus take over a social responsibility;

K. whereas EU is the biggest donor to Somalia, having committed EUR 215.4 million so far for development aid through the European Development Fund (EDF) for the period 2008 to 2013; whereas main focus of this funding is to lift the people from poverty into self-sustaining economic growth and provide lasting solution for stability in the country by addressing root causes of piracy by financing projects to improve governance and rule of law, education, economic growth and to support to non-focal sectors (health, environment, water and sanitation); whereas an additional EUR 175 million for the period 2011–2015 under the EDF has been granted to allow the EU to strengthen its engagement and to support new activities in the abovementioned fields;

L.  whereas while the EU’s efforts to fight piracy have managed to protect shipments of the World Food Programme (WFP) and the African Union Mission on Somalia (AMISOM), they need sustained commitment to ensure adequate force levels and risk to be undermined in future by the lack of naval forces;

M. whereas many Member States are currently developing its own rules regarding the deployment of armed guards on board merchant ships;

1.  Reiterates its grave concern over the ongoing increasing threat that piracy and armed robbery at sea against the humanitarian aid vessels of the World Food Programme (WFP) and the African Union Mission on Somalia (AMISOM) as well as international and EU fishing, merchant and passenger vessels in the Indian Ocean, particularly in the seas off Somalia and the Horn of Africa pose to the safety of seafarers and other persons, regional stability;

2.  Calls on the High Representative and Member States to urgently consider ways of liberating the 191 seafarers currently being held hostage, thereby ending their extended and appalling imprisonment at the hands of their captors and allowing these seafarers to return to their homes and, at the same time, ending the detention of 7 hijacked vessels;

3.  Welcomes the contribution made by EUNAVFOR Operation ATALANTA to maritime security off the coast of Somalia by protecting World Food Programme chartered vessels delivering aid to Somalia and other vulnerable vessels and the deterrence, prevention and repression of acts of piracy and armed robbery off the Somali coast;

4.  Welcomes the Council Decision of 23 March 2012 both to prolong the mandate of EU‑NAVFOR ATALANTA until December 2014 and to extend the force’s area of operations and calls for continuous coordination of all the international forces;

5.  Welcomes the decision by the Foreign Affairs Council on 12 December 2011 to launch the Regional Maritime Capacity Building ‘EUCAP Nestor’ and judicial capabilities and training of coastal police force and judges in eight countries in the Horn of Africa and the Western Indian Ocean;

6.  Welcomes the London conference on Somalia on 23 February 2012 at Lancaster House and the resulting Communiqué from the conference, which references among others the international community’s determination to eradicate piracy, efforts of partners in industry against piracy, the affirmation that there will be no impunity for piracy; and a call for greater development of judicial capacity to prosecute and detain those behind piracy both in Somalia and in the wider region;

7.  Stresses that further piracy impunity runs counter to deterrence; deplores that despite the EU transfer agreements with third countries (Kenya, Seychelles, Mauritius) as well as bilateral repatriation agreements for convicted pirates between Seychelles and Puntland and Somaliland and international legal frameworks, many pirates and other criminals are still not arrested or, when arrested often released due to a lack of solid legal evidence or lack of political will to prosecute, also some EU Member States have inadequate criminal-law safeguards against piracy in the high seas;

8.  In this regard calls for immediate and effective measures to prosecute and punish those suspected of acts of piracy and urges third counties and the EU Member States that have not yet done so to transpose in their national law all the provisions laid by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and the UN Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation, in order to tackle impunity of pirates and invites the Council and the Commission to continue examining opportunities for trial in the countries of the region and work on the creation of specialised anti-piracy courts in Somalia and in other States of the region as a sustainable judicial solution for the trial of pirates in Somalia;

9.  Urges the Member States, in cooperation with Europol and INTERPOL, to investigate and trace money flows and confiscate the money which is paid as ransom to the pirates, as there are indications that this money might be floated to bank accounts worldwide, including banks in Europe, as well as identify and dismantle the organised criminal networks that reap the profits of such acts; invites the Council to facilitate further cooperation of EU NAVFOR with Europol and Interpol;

10. Deplores the fact that number of vessels the Member States have supplied to the EU NAVFOR ATALANTA operation has decreased from 8 to only 2-3 in the beginning of 2012; and therefore appeals to the Member States to provide more naval assets to enable the ATALANTA operation to succeed;

11. Encourages EU NAVFOR, NATO and Coalition Maritime Forces (CMF) to effectively address the increased use of pirated merchant ships as ‘Motherships’ – a development which constitutes a significant increase in the pirates’ operational capability and which enables them to launch their attacks with more strength, determination and flexibility across the whole of the Indian Ocean;

12. Underlines at the same time the need to enhance strategic coordination among EU NAVFOR ATALANTA, EUTM Somalia and other CSDP actions in the wider Horn of Africa region; welcomes, in this regard, the decision of the Council of 23 March 2012 to activate an EU Operations Centre in support of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) missions in the Horn of Africa; calls in this regard for a review of existing command arrangements of EU NAVFOR ATALANTA and EUTM Somalia;

13. Calls for continued greater coordination under the SHADE-mechanism among the EU, NATO and the conducting the three main counter-piracy naval missions in the region (EU NAVFOR, CTF-150/151 and TF-508 within NATO’s operation Ocean Shield) and the various international naval forces in order to avoid unnecessary duplication, since both organisations, the EU and NATO, on the basis of their respective decision-making autonomy operate in the same area, have the same interests and largely comprise the same European nations;

14. Stresses that EMSA should continue cooperation with EU NAVFOR ATALANTA, where appropriate, by providing the operation, following the Flag State consent, with the detailed LRIT data and satellite images of EU-flag vessels transiting through the area; for this, Member States are encouraged to authorise to the Agency to provide these data and information to the EU NAVFOR operation;

15. Will appreciate all efforts made by coastal States in cooperating, within the framework of international law, with the EU and its member countries, with the aim of combating piracy and protecting people, goods and trade from pirate attacks;

16. Considers that proliferation of piracy should lead to a mandatory training of seafarers exposed to threats linked to piracy in order to reinforce their self-protection; meanwhile stresses the need for shipping companies to adhere and fully apply the ‘Best Management Practices for protection against Somalia Based Piracy’ (BMP-4) which provide sufficient information to all parties involved on ways how to assist ships to avoid, deter or delay piracy attacks off the coast of Somalia; reiterates its call on all vessels operating in the area to register with the relevant maritime security coordination bodies and follow EU NAVFOR ATALANTA recommendations; calls on the Member States to ensure that all their vessels are registered;

17. Urges the Council and the Commission in collaboration with the UN and the African Union, following the several requests by the Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG) for international assistance to protect the humanitarian aid vessels and counter piracy off its coast, to continue to co-operate and support Somalia’s TFG in the fight against piracy, Al Shabab and the perpetrators who must be brought to justice and to help Somalia and the region to strengthen its capacities;

18. Acknowledges that training is only one part of maritime capacity building and therefore calls upon Member States to provide material assistance to the Mission or region, with a specific regard to Maritime Patrol Vessels;

19. Strongly supports the Djibouti process for peace and reconciliation; calls for a comprehensive approach to the situation in Somalia, linking security with development, rule of law and respect for human rights and international humanitarian law;

20. Welcomes the Commission’s decision to propose a further EUR 100 million EU’s financial support under the African Peace facility to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and calls on Member States and international community to help in promoting peace, economic development and building a stable democratic regime in Somalia that would facilitate security and the fight against piracy in the long term, welcomes the appointment of an EU special representative for the Horn of Africa;

21. Is concerned about still deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Horn of Africa and calls on the international community, and the EU in particular, to increase its provision of humanitarian assistance to people in need so as to meet the growing humanitarian needs and prevent any further worsening of the situation;

22. Welcomes the EU Marsic project under the ‘Critical Maritime Routes Programme’ of the Instrument for Stability with objective to enhance maritime security and safety in the Western Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden through information sharing and capacity building, highlighting regional cooperation among the countries of the region and expects its prolongation beyond 2013;

23. Encourages anti-piracy initiatives of Eastern and Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region countries like the new anti-piracy project MASE (Maritime and Security Programme), which beneficed a start-up grant of EUR 2 million from the EU; welcomes the intended complementarity of Commission funded projects and the CSDP mission on RMCB;

24. Reiterates that piracy off the coast of Somalia is an extension of the absence of law and order in that country and therefore, the international community should provide the necessary technical and financial support to assist the TFG in developing capacity to exercise control over its territorial waters and, in respect of international law, its exclusive economic zone;

25. Welcomes the work of the UN Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, which constitutes an unprecedented forum for enhancing the level and quality of the international cooperation in this field, among States and with all major International Organisations concerned; and encourages the EU to take up a coordinating role in this forum, especially in the field of (regional) maritime capacity building;

26. Welcomes the close coordination with the IMO in the field of maritime capacity building as well as the work towards the conclusion of an EU-IMO Strategic Partnership to counter piracy in the wider Horn of Africa;

27. Underlines that the use of private armed guards aboard has increased, as well as the fact that no vessel with PCASP on board has been successfully pirated although it is a measure that cannot substitute for the needed comprehensive solution of the multifaceted piracy threat; takes into account that some Member States have introduced relevant legislation; in this context calls on the Member States to perform necessary security measures on board when it is possible, as well as the Commission and the Council to work towards shaping an EU approach concerning the use of certified armed personnel on board in order to ensure a good implementation of the IMO guidelines in this regard; reminds that according to IMO BMP4 (Best Management Practices): ‘Subject to risk analysis, careful planning and agreements, the provision of Military Vessel Protection Detachments (VPDs) deployed to protect vulnerable shipping is the recommended option when considering armed guards’;

28. Reminds that, on the high seas, according to international law, in all cases, including actions taken in the fight against piracy, the national jurisdiction of the flag state shall be applied on the ships concerned, as well as on the military staff employed aboard; moreover, no arrest or detention of the ship, even as a measure of investigation, shall be ordered by any authorities other than those of the flag State;

29. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission, Member States, the Secretaries-General of the African Union, the UN and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the President of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia and the Pan-African Parliament.

Legal notice - Privacy policy