Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Governments must step-up war on piracy, demand shippers

As Reported HERE
Shippers have urged governments to step-up efforts to end piracy after seafarer and shipping associations threatened to boycott dangerous areas.

The European Shippers’ Council (ESC) has warned that a boycott of areas affected by piracy would have serious consequences on the supply chain.

The ESC said it had considerable sympathy for ship operators and their crews who are facing this added peril at sea, and fully understands that many must feel they have to take avoiding action in order to protect themselves.

The Baltic and International Maritime Council (Bimco) recently indicated that it was considering an industry-backed boycott in the region of the Indian Ocean and re-routing vessels around the Cape of Good Hope, while the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) is threatening to ask its members to boycott vessels plying in the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean.

ESC Secretary General Nicolette van der Jagt said: “The protection of shipping from piracy – regardless of flag, or nationality of the crew – is a clear and legitimate responsibility for governments under the UN convention on the law of the sea.

“The ESC urges governments around the world to uphold their responsibilities in the enforcement of the convention and protection of their flags, and to assist fully in protecting all merchant shipping in their territorial waters.

“The impacts of piracy are not just on the seafarers; they are not just local; they are global, affecting us all – and so everyone must act.”

The Chairman of the ESC’s Maritime Transport Council, Jean Louis-Cambon, said a boycott would have serious economic consequences for businesses already affected by slow-steaming, rising fuel prices, unstable and uncertain market demand and austerity measures.

“Companies are focused on cost reduction within their supply chains, efficiency enhancements, productivity increases, greater flexibility and agility in their supply chains.

“The proposal to divert all shipping away from the affected areas, via the Cape of Good Hope, would add further strains on business, and not least, greater costs.”

Re-routing on a liner trade often means adding another ship to the service to maintain the schedule.

On a Europe-Far East service, re-routing around Africa’s Cape of Good Hope would increase the cost by US$89 million a year – $74.4 million in fuel and $14.6 million in charter expenses.

Yesterday, IFW revealed that Beluga Shipping, which recently had two of its seafarers killed by pirates,  is to place private security on its vessels and re-route some around the Cape of Good Hope to avoid pirates.

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