Time for new UN conference on laws of seas: Experts

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New Delhi, Jan.31 (ANI): An international conference of the SLOCs (Sea Lines of Communication) Group here today called for a United Nations Laws of the Seas conference to safeguard the massive volume of trade through the seas.

The two-day 16th SLOCs Group conference, organized by Observer Research Foundation, focused on the need to have a fresh and inclusive look at the international law, including traditional concepts like the Freedom of Seas.

Delivering the keynote address here today, Vice Admiral (Retd) K.K. Nayyar said collective and cooperative security mechanisms are likely to be the norm rather than exception as the world move forward.

"Time has come for a new UN Law of the Seas conference," Admiral Nayyar said pointing out that "unless and until that is done, a new law is considered with all the regulatory provisions that are essential, we are not going to succeed in safeguarding international trade at affordable costs."

He cautioned that unless sea routes are regulated and safeguarded, 'this disproportionate costs will have to be paid by all of us".

"If there is no regulated traffic, there will be no adequate security for the traffic. And piracy and interference will affect the multi-million dollar shipping industry," Admiral Nayyar said.

Calling for concrete and appropriate steps to safeguard sea routes, Admiral Nayyar said "we wait for disaster to happen or things go wrong" before taking the rights steps.

"In so far as security is concerned, despite the fact that conflicts and disputes can be seen more often in this region, non-traditional threats like terrorism and piracy remain the biggest challenge, particularly in the waters off Somalia," he said.

"While regional and global cooperation to counter these menaces are already the order of the day, many challenges still need to be overcome," Admiral Nayyar said.

Noting that non-state actors are already in play and even traffic Suez Canal has gone down 20 per cent because of fears of piracy, Admiral Nayyar said if piracy is hosted by failing or ungovernable States, Asia Pacific region is also going to have problems.

"The question is how to counter this. Sending Task Forces is not the answer. It is an untenable proposition," Admiral Nayyar said, stressing that circumstances will force the world to regulate traffic either on the model of air traffic or any other model.

The conference has sessions on 'global issues and challenges', 'regional trends in trade and shipping', 'response strategies' and 'the way forward'.

The conference is being attended by Judge Jin Hyun Paik (judge at International Tribunal Law for the Law of the Sea, Hamburg, Germany), Cdr. John Bradford (US Navy), Dr. Stanley Weeks (US), Andrew Forbes (Australia), Prof. Seok Woo Lee (South Korea), Prof. Joon Soo Jon (South Korea), Dr. Connie Rahakundini Bakrie (Indonesia), Capt. Laurene Lin (Taiwan), Mr. Nazery Khalid (Malaysia) and RAdm Kawamura (Japan).

From India, Capt. P.K. Ghosh (ORF), Ms. Lydia Powel (ORF), Prof. GVC Naidu, Cdr. D. Chakroborty and Ambassador Leena Ponnapa presented papers.

Security experts, maritime security analysts, academics, officials from the Indian Navy and other institutions took part in the discussions. (ANI)

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