Russian Union Plea

A seafarers’ union in Russia has called on the Russian president to take a proactive approach to piracy by initiating a United Nations (UN) resolution.

In a letter to Dmitry Medvedev on 15 February, Igor Pavlov, president of the ITF-affiliated Seafarers’ Union of Russia, called on the president to consider preparing a resolution on the creation of a multinational force to police the Indian Ocean. He urged him also to initiate the resolution’s adoption by the UN security council.

The resolution would aim to combat the increasing incidences of piracy, he told Medvedev. It should introduce a naval blockade of Somalia, which would mean that any vessel leaving the territorial waters of Somalia would undergo checks. Other measures, such as providing aid or offering Somalis alternative ways of earning a living, could also be taken.

Pavlov highlighted how the piracy problem had escalated and emphasised that Russian seafarers had been among those who had recently been taken hostage. On 22 January, he said, pirates had hijacked the Beluga Nomination, crewed by international seafarers. Reports claimed that when an attempt was made to rescue the hostages, the pirates shot dead a Filipino seafarer. Two other seafarers, including one of two Russians, chief engineer Vladimir Isaykin, were still missing and it was understood that the chances that they were still alive were remote.

He added: “The Seafarers’ Union of Russia is deeply worried by the current situation of piracy around Somalia, as the lives of Russian seafarers are in constant danger.

“We think that the Russian Federation as a constant member of the UN security council should initiate the joining of forces by all maritime nations to fight piracy, which can be regarded as international terrorism.”

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