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Top UN maritime official applauds Iran for contribution in war against piracy

17 September 2009 – The head of the United Nations maritime agency has praised Iran for its support of international efforts in combating piracy off the coast of Somalia, while prompting authorities to fulfil internationally agreed maritime anti-terrorism measures.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) Secretary-General Efthimios E. Mitropoulos yesterday wrapped up a four-day visit to Iran and Syria where he met with Government ministers to discuss challenges surrounding piracy, shortages in the number of seafarers and climate change.

In a meeting with high-level ministers in Iran, Mr. Mitropoulos applauded the Government for dispatching naval vessels to the Gulf of Aden to prevent and suppress piracy in the region.

The agency chief also pushed for full compliance, both on board ships and in port facilities, with a 2004 treaty aimed at stifling terrorist activity emerging from the seas – the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code.

In addition, Mr. Mitropoulos sought Iran’s support at the UN Climate Change Conference this December in Copenhagen to entrust IMO with oversight for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from shipping operations, as the 1997 Kyoto Protocol has done to date.

At the Iranian port of Anzali on the Caspian Sea, the head of IMO welcomed a recent search and rescue and oil spill prevention and response joint exercises with Russia, urging Iran to expedite the ratification of the 2004 International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments.

Mr. Mitropoulos promoted IMO’s “Go to Sea!” campaign in an address at a maritime academy in the Syrian port city of Lattakia in which he congratulated students for choosing a seafaring career. He also met with Government ministers in Damascus.


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