Date: 28/05/2024

IMO condemns “illegal, unjustifiable” attacks on ships in Red Sea

Member States of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) - the UN agency that regulates global shipping - have called for an immediate end to ongoing attacks on ships and seafarers transiting through the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.
In a resolution adopted in London, IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee condemned the attacks as “illegal and unjustifiable”, posing a direct threat to the freedom of navigation in one of the world’s most critical waterways, while causing major disruptions to regional and global trade. 
It is the first resolution to be adopted by IMO Member States on this issue since the Houthis seized the MV Galaxy Leader in November 2023. Since then, around 50 dangerous and destabilising maritime attacks have been carried out, costing the lives of several seafarers while the 25 crew members of the Galaxy Leader remain in hostage. The Committee called for their immediate and unconditional release.   
“The Houthis’ reckless actions are putting innocent lives at risk, disrupting the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian aid to those who need it most, increasing the cost of this humanitarian assistance, and destabilising the region,” stated the resolution. 
The Committee called for peaceful dialogue and diplomacy to resolve the crisis. In particular, it urged any party that may have influence with the Houthis to use that influence to seek an end to the attacks. It further emphasised that all 176 IMO Member States are obligated to prevent the direct or indirect supply of arms and related materiel to the Houthis, under the targeted UN arms embargo.  
IMO will continue to monitor the situation and engage stakeholders, in collaboration with Member States and partners from international industry bodies.  
The resolution, adopted on 23 May, encouraged ship operators and vessels to carefully assess the nature and unpredictability of recent events, as well as the potential of continued attacks in the area, when considering transit plans, as per a release. 
source; Exim News Service; London, May 27