Forget Pirates of the Caribbean, piracy is alive and flourishing in the 21st century and it’s a nasty, beastly business, one that represents a very real threat to fuel supplies in Europe and the OECD countries, quite apart from the damage to seafarers and vessels.
What’s being done about it? Let’s kick-off with this email from Steven James, MNI, communications manager at the London-based Nautical Institute:
The Nordic Ship Officers’ Congress (NSOC) last month made a statement which demanded action from the IMO to address the horrific rise in piracy incidents off Somalia. We (The Nautical Institute) have joined that call – but we have gone further (as included in the attached article from next months Seaways journal), by looking for the industry to do more and for greater consideration of the effect of attacks on the people who suffer most from them, the seafarers.
The IMO and World Food Programme have also this week called for action, and while their joint statement and push for Naval vessels to be granted access to troublesome territorial seas is very progressive and welcome, it doesn’t really address the problem of piracy per se, nor the issue of seafarer welfare in the face of piracy attacks.
The demand for Naval vessels to stamp out this menace is hugely positive, and better late than never!
There are also some early steps being taken to try and establish some form of charity to both aid seafarers who have been attacked, but also to reach out to disaffected youths in pirate hot-spot areas to (very much like the gangland programmes in the US) to try educate and provide options to stop them being seduced into a life of maritime crime.