Such attacks on crew and ships are first and foremost a human tragedy certainly if seafarers are kidnapped. In addition they threaten the smooth conduct of maritime trade in the region and cause severe repercussions on international shipping.

These remarks come following the attack on the Norwegian-flagged bulk carrier ‘MV BONITA’ on 4 November, which was boarded by pirates while at anchor off Cotonou in Benin, where nine crew members were abducted, including the Captain.

Another such incident happened later that day involving the Greek vessel ‘ELKA ARISTOTLE’, resulting in the abduction of four of its crew members.

It is completely unacceptable that these attacks continue and our hearts go out to the crew and family members affected. We call on the relevant parties to redouble their efforts to stamp out these acts of criminality,

...said Guy Platten, ICS Secretary-General.

ECSA is committed to working with EU stakeholders for the suppression of this alarming phenomenon of armed attacks on ships. Our primary goal is to secure the safety of seafarers,

...commented Martin Dorsman, ECSA Secretary-General.

The Union of Greek Shipowners (UGS) also strongly condemned the attack on ‘ELKA ARISTOTLE’ and looks forward to the immediate peaceful resolution.

Earlier this week, ITF's section chair David Heindel also called on the shipping industry, governments and unions to work collaboratively to eliminate piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.