Our intellect must have gone on sabbatical. IMO says World Maritime Day 2011 will be observed from 26th to 30th September. The exact date is left to individual governments but at the IMO headquarters in London, it’s on the 29th. We don’t get it. Why call it “Day” when we’re talking here of a week? This year’s theme is “Piracy: Orchestrating the Response”. It’s apropos given the upward spiral of Somali piracy attacks, and it has a nice ring to it. We’re reminded of the London Symphony Orchestra or the Berlin Philharmonic. What we’d like to know is, who’s the conductor?
It can’t be IMO Secretary-General Efthimios Mitropoulos. He presides over meetings, cuts ceremonial ribbons and delivers speeches. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon? The man has pledged UN support for the anti-piracy drive but he’s got his hands full, what with conflicts that keep popping up around the globe. US President Barak Obama? UK Prime Minister David Cameron? German Chancellor Angela Merkel? But they and other world leaders are precisely the targets of the SaveOurSeafarers (SOS) letter-writing campaign.
What’s certain is that frustration and anger over piracy are building up. We see and hear an anti-piracy ensemble with parts that correspond to the sections of an orchestra – string, brass, woodwind and percussion instruments. The instruments, of course, are still being tuned. There’s the European Naval Force Somalia (EU Navfor), which operates under a UN Security Council mandate. There’s the private maritime security sector, which includes legit organisations as well as mercenaries and pirate hunters. There are the individual governments, NGOs, seafarers’ unions and international and national shipping associations.
It’s a full orchestra, one in search of a conductor. ~Barista Uno