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Aust. Signs Maritime Counter Terrorism Protocols

Australia Signs New Maritime Counter Terrorism Protocols

Australia has further demonstrated its regional leadership in counter terrorism initiatives after signing two new protocols to enhance maritime security and global counter terrorism efforts, Attorney-General Philip Ruddock said today.

Mr Ruddock signed the protocols at a meeting with the Secretary General of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in London yesterday. The protocols were adopted at a Diplomatic Conference of the IMO in October 2005.

“The protocols will significantly strengthen international efforts to counter terrorist threats to maritime security and offshore oil and gas facilities,” Mr Ruddock said.

“They will send a strong message that the international community is committed to taking action against people who commit acts of maritime terrorism.”

The protocols were adopted at a Diplomatic Conference of the International Maritime Organisation in October 2005 after three years of intensive negotiations. They will amend the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation.

Once in force the protocols will create new offences concerning the use of vessels for terrorist purposes and a new regime for boarding vessels suspected of committing an offence under the amended Convention.

“The new protocols also create offences concerning the use of oil and gas facilities for terrorist purposes and enhance rights under international law to take action against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction by sea,” Mr Ruddock said.

“The protocols bolster and complement existing measures taken by the Government to strengthen offshore maritime security and Australia’s commitment to the Proliferation Security Initiative.

“Australia played a leading role in the negotiation of the protocols and is committed to their early implementation. The Australian Government is pleased to sign the protocols as a first step in that process,” he said.

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