ASF urges UN and governments to maintain urgent and effective measures against Somali piracy
PARTICIPANTS at the 21st Asian Shipowners' Forum (ASF), which concluded its annual meeting recently in Port Douglas, Australia, have demonstrated their support for the SaveOurSeafarers (SOS) Campaign, an international non-for-profit, anti-piracy campaign launched in March last year by a group of five maritime associations. Wednesday, 06.Jun.2012, 02:09 (GMT+3)
PARTICIPANTS at the 21st Asian Shipowners' Forum (ASF), which concluded its annual meeting recently in Port Douglas, Australia, have demonstrated their support for the SaveOurSeafarers (SOS) Campaign, an international non-for-profit, anti-piracy campaign launched in March last year by a group of five maritime associations.
Over the past seven years, more than 62 seafarers have been murdered and more than 3,000 have been held hostage from the almost 200 ships hijacked by Somali pirates off the coast of Somalia, Gulf of Aden and the wider Indian Ocean.
Piracy cost the global economy an estimated US$5 to $7 billion last year, including protective measures to safeguard ships and crew, increased insurance costs, as well as the millions of dollars in ransom money.
The ASF appreciates that on March 23, 2012 the European Council permitted their Naval Forces to take disruptive action against known pirate supplies on the Somalia shore. Noel Hart, chairman of the 21st ASF said: "The operations carried out by EU Naval Forces on May 15, 2012 to disrupt pirate supplies and bases on the Somali shoreline is welcome and has sent a clear signal that piracy cannot be tolerated. Blatant attacks on innocent ships and seafarers must be stopped! The ASF urges continuing and stronger political will to address the root causes of piracy - on land in Somalia."
Patrick Phoon, chairman of the safe navigation and environment committee said: "We are very grateful that the combined naval forces are keeping a vigilant eye in this area. Given the great expanse of coverage, it is no small task to safeguard these waters from Somali pirates. The ASF is developing a counter piracy proposal in response to the continuing threat of Somali piracy, the details of which will be presented to Working Group 1 of the Contact Group for Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS)."
The Seafarers Committee of the ASF once again expressed its strong concern at the trauma, agony, suffering and lasting psychological and physical effects on seafarers and their families due to pirate attacks. The long period of captivity when being held as hostages is a nightmare.
Li Shanmin, the chairman of the Seafarers Committee, said: "The situation continues to be a serious crisis, one that deeply affects the mental health of seafarers and their families. The threat cannot be forgotten and we demand that all possible action is taken to alleviate the situation."
The ASF expressed its deep concern for the well-being of the 197 seafarers currently being held hostage on hijacked ships, as well as seven Indian seafarers who continued to be held hostage despite payment of ransom.