Piracy and the International Law of the Sea
Judge (Ambassador) Helmut Türk
Vice-President, International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea
Piracy has long been a problem for oceanic shipping. In recent years, the locus and intensity of piracy has shifted from the straits of Malacca, near Indonesia, to the Gulf of Aden, near the coast of Somalia. In 2003, there were some 21 reported attacks off the Somali coast. As of 2009, this number has increased significantly to roughly 217 reported attacks. At present, an international naval fleet is present in the Gulf of Aden in an effort to both deter piracy and to capture perpetrators. Yet those pirates that are captured within international waters are often subject to little, if any, legal punishment. Judge (Ambassador) Helmut Türk,
who is currently Vice-President of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, has advised the United Nations on numerous matters regarding the law of the sea and will speak about this growing scourge of piracy. The Tribunal, established by the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea, ajudicates violations of the Convention that are brough forth by either state or non-state parties.
Judge (Ambassador) Helmut Türk is a legal expert on matters pertaining to the law of the sea and is currently Vice-President of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. He has previously held positions within the United Nations, including an advisor to the Austrian delegation to the UN (1966-2004), advisor to the UN Seabed
Committee (1973), and President of the Meeting of State Parties of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (1997-1998), among many others. He has published widely on the laws of the sea, as well as human rights issues.