Somalia launches draft policy paper and Maritime code

10 Jul 2016

Somalia launches draft policy paper and Maritime code

A proposed maritime code for Somalia has received backing from the country’s key maritime stakeholders and development partners.

The draft policy which underpins the code and the general overview of the provisions of the code were launched in  Mogadishu today at a high-level event attended by senior officials from the Federal Government, federal member states, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM).

The revised Maritime Code will cover matters pertaining to maritime safety, maritime pollution and maritime commercial laws.

“Somalia is faced with great opportunities but also with great challenges. We are positioning ourselves to take full advantage of our position as a littoral country. We also expect IMO to help us to take advantage of those opportunities while also helping us meet the challenges of capacity,” said Deputy Prime Minister Mohamed Omar Arteh who presided over the launch of the draft policy paper.

A follow-up technical forum to flesh out issues on the proposed draft policy, which has been under development for four years, will be held in Kigali, Rwanda from 12 July to 15 July 2016. The revision will see the Somali Maritime Code of 1959, which went through an amendment in 1988, brought into conformity with the current International Maritime Law.

“The Ministry and in general the Somali Federal Government are happy to reach the international arena in conformity with internal maritime laws,” stated Somali Minister for Ports and Marine Transport Nur Farah Hersi.

With the help of the International Maritime Organization, Somalia will have added responsibiities to enable it in effectively securing its maritime domain.

“Today is a very important event kicking off the revision of the 1959 Somali Maritime Code, which was amended in 1988, and to align it with IMO conventions, codes and instruments and with other international best practices,” said UNSOM’s Senior Maritime Officer Eric Brandenburg.

Kiruja Micheni of the IMO added, “This is a process supported by the International Maritime Organization upon request by the Federal Government of Somalia. As you know, this country has one of the largest coastlines in Africa, with huge economic resources both within and under the seabed. In fact, I would refer to Somalia as a maritime sleeping giant and for you to exploit those resources, you really must have legal and institutional regimes for this thing to work.”

UNSOM and IMO are providing technical assistance to the Federal Government of Somalia in the revision of its Maritime Code as part of institutional capacity building.