Monday, February 28, 2011
Over 800 seafarers are currently being held hostage in appalling conditions by armed gangs of Somali pirates. Subjected to physical and psychological abuse for months at a time, they are held ransom for millions of dollars. Merchant ships are being attacked daily and run a gauntlet of gunfire and rocket propelled grenade attacks.
“The piracy crisis in the Indian Ocean is getting worse, and not just for the shipping industry” said Ms Teresa Hatch, Executive Director of the Australian Shipowners Association. “The impact on the key supply routes and vessels having to look at alternative routes will mean increased transport costs and delivery times.”
“Recent figures show that piracy is costing the global economy billions of dollars a year” Ms Hatch said.
To highlight the severity of the crisis the international shipping community has now resorted to placing adverts in the world’s media and calling for action from governments.
The Australian Shipowners Association has raised the industry’s concern over this increasing threat with the Gillard Government.
The world relies on freedom of the seas for the safe delivery of 90% of food, fuel, raw materials and manufactured goods. This freedom is threatened. The lawlessness has spread right across the Indian Ocean – through which half the world’s oil supply passes.
As part of the campaign to increase awareness and a call for government action, the SOS Save Our Seafarers website was launched today – http://www.saveourseafarers.com/ Supporters can send a pre-prepared letter, signed by them to their chosen heads of government. The website will also have up-to-the minute information on the piracy situation, and an SOS TV page with film clips and pictures.
Bible Voyage Ends in Tragedy
CBN News, February 25, 2011
Orchestrating the Response to Piracy
NATO Community, February 14, 2011
The International Maritime Organization (IMO), a United Nations agency, has launched an action plan to tackle the problem of piracy off the coast of Somalia.
[MY COMMENTARY: IMO is avoiding any consideration for a new maritime treaty on the arming of merchant vessels and their crew (not just armed contract security teams). Criticism of IMO’s reluctance in this regard is increasing.]