As Reported HERE
SINGAPORE -- The Safe Navigation and Environment Committee (SNEC) of the Asian Shipowners’ Forum (ASF) has expressed outrage at the increasing number of attacks on their ships and the brutality shown by Somali pirates.
“The current situation, where a handful of pirates can hold the world’s economy hostage, is completely unacceptable as responsible owners and managers, we must take all necessary steps to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our seafarers,” said Mr. S. S. Teo, SNEC Chairman in a recent meeting of the Asian shipowners’ associations held in Singapore.
“Not only are seafarers being tortured and murdered civilians and children are being targeted as well. The situation is increasingly untenable.”
It was noted that pirates had attacked 445 ships, hijacked 53 of them and taken 1,181 seafarers hostage worldwide in 2010. Today, about 700 seafarers remain hostages in deplorable conditions off Somalia.
The committee expressed serious concern at the threat posed by pirates to international shipping, particularly in the Gulf of Aden, the Indian Ocean and in the waters off Somalia.
The committee demands that all governments must act decisively and expeditiously to eradicate piracy and attacks on ships.
While appreciating the assistance and protection provided by the naval forces stationed in the Gulf of Aden presently, the committee does not consider it sustainable in the longer term.
The committee is of the unanimous view that the United Nations and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) must exercise strong political will to bring the situation under control.
The meeting strongly supports the call by international shipping organizations worldwide to neutralize the threat of the captured, hostage-crewed mother ships that are allowing pirates to roam the Indian Ocean unimpeded.
The committee acknowledges that in addition to complying fully with all the measures put forward in the latest version of Best Management Practices to deter piracy in the Gulf of Aden and off the Coast of Somalia, which has been developed by the industry, the committee notes and appreciates that individual ASF members may adopt additional safety measures such as the use of armed guards to protect the lives and wellbeing of their seafarers. (EHL)