JEDDAH: A maritime code aimed at reducing piracy has been expanded to include other crimes such as human trafficking, according to the organizers of a meeting held in Jeddah.
Attendees of the meeting approved a series of amendments to the Djibouti Code of Conduct, which concerns the repression of piracy and armed robbery against ships in the western Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden, according to a press statement.
The conference for signatory countries of the Djibouti Code of Conduct saw approvals for expanding the terms of reference of the code to ensure greater maritime safety and anti-piracy efforts, as well as protection against armed robbery and cross-border organized crime in the maritime field.
It also provides greater protection relating to arms, drugs, and offenses concerning wildlife, crude oil and human trafficking.
The expanded terms also include illegitimate acts, such as disposal of toxic waste in the sea, illegal fishing and maritime terrorism, which pose increasing threats to safety and security of ships and marine facilities.
The new code of conduct focuses on a number of additional measures to enhance maritime security, including developing national strategies for private maritime security and policies, with an emphasis on enhancing the capacity and readiness of signatory countries.
The agreement includes updated guidelines for seizure and confiscation of assets and property obtained from maritime crimes.
The news came during the closing session of the conference at the Prince Mohammed bin Naif Academy of Marine Sciences and Security Studies.
The Djibouti Code of Conduct was adopted on Jan. 29, 2009 by representatives of Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Maldives, Seychelles, Somalia, Tanzania and Yemen. Comoros, Egypt, Eritrea, Jordan, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sudan and the UAE have since signed.