JEDDAH: The head of the Saudi Border Guards has warned that maritime security in the Red Sea and elsewhere can only be achieved if the root of piracy and maritime crime are addressed.
Gen. Awad bin Eid Al-Balwi, director general of the Saudi Border Guards, was speaking at the opening of an international workshop on Tuesday on dealing with piracy and other crimes at the Mohammed bin Naif Institute for Maritime Science and Security Studies in Jeddah.
The three-day workshop will focus on the Jeddah Amendments to the Djibouti Code of Conduct, which were designed to enhance the response of the international community to criminal activity at sea, and were adopted in 2017.
The Djibouti Code of 2009 was designed to improve regional capacity to respond to piracy off the coasts of Africa and Arabia.
The workshop was organized by the Directorate General of the Border Guards in collaboration with the International Maritime Organization (IMO), under the guidance of King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and Interior Minister Prince Abdul Aziz bin Saud bin Naif.
Al-Balwi stressed Saudi Arabia’s support for regional and international efforts to fight piracy, armed robbery and maritime terrorism.
He said the threat of piracy to shipping had been contained by a combination of actions by regional states, international organizations, international naval forces and self-protection measures by merchant shipping.
But he warned that despite the gains made, maritime security threats continue to evolve and require a concerted effort to address them.
Al-Balwi said by adopting the Jeddah Amendments in 2017, the region sought a long-term comprehensive solution.
He warned that if the workshop’s participants focused only on addressing symptoms such as the criminal acts, the region would not succeed in its goal of a well-developed maritime economy free from violent extremism.
Chris Trelawny, the representative of the IMO secretary-general, said the workshop will take stock of what is needed to address the full range of maritime crimes referred to in the Jeddah Amendments.