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UN approves vessel inspections for charcoal and arms off Somalia

The United Nations Security Council has authorized the inspection of vessels in territorial waters and on the high seas which they had “reasonable grounds” to believe were carrying charcoal from
Somalia, in violation of the charcoal ban from 2012, or weapons or military equipment, in violation of the arms embargo. The Council authorized States, for a 12-month period, to inspect vessels and to seize and dispose of any prohibited items. Such authorizations applied only with respect to the situation in Somalia, the Council said, deciding to review those measures after six months.

 Speaking after action, Britain’s U.N. Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant welcomed the resolution’s adoption, stressing that the fight against Al-Shabaab was at the heart of the naval operation discussed in the text. Since the ban had been put in place, the illegal charcoal trade had increased, with the Monitoring Group estimating that Al-Shabaab had kept up to one-third of the revenue from the USD 250 million trade. The resolution was supported by 13 Council members, with Russia and Jordan abstaining from the vote.

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