Somalia Hijacking problem to be solved:The floor is yours
There has been a lot of rumors and speculation as far as Somalia Piracy problem is concerned. Many industry people think that it is beyond any reasonable argument that so few people have effectively managed to harass so many and stop the flow of international trade in the wider area of the Indian ocean, needless to point out that they are demanding a continuously increasing amount of ransom per vessel.
The International community has failed to treat the problem and we see many of them being interviewed by the international press (see latest example here). NOR Shipping concluded last Friday and we have seen key industry leaders such as Clay Maitland of International Registries and Roberto Giorgi of V.Ships looking at the same direction. Let me recap for many of you who, that the Anti Piracy measures should be focusing on two key objectives, a reactive one by protecting the vessels and a proactive one by aiming to solve the problem on a political level as follows:
Objective A : Provide maximum protection to vessels, until piracy is completely beaten by a number of measures including but not limited to :
- Private Contracted Armed Security Personnel (PCASP) to be allowed without any imposition from flag administrations, underwriters, charterers and cargo owners, in line with the latest IMO Guidelines
- Strict adherence to Best Management Practices (BMPs) issued by the industry by all vessels transiting the area
- Further/Enhanced Post trauma assistance and psychological support to seafarers and their families by the industry (including companies, associations, clubs etc)
- Ships to be allowed to be protected by private patrol boats during the passage in the area, despite the field being unregulated at the moment
- Motherships to be monitored and followed by the naval forces with the aim of stopping the skiffs they support from executing any attacks. Actually this is partially carried out at the moment because Naval forced do not have authorisation prior the commitment of the crime, in our case of the assault to the vessel
OBJECTIVE B : Industry (IMO / UN) Solution on the legal/political framework to fight Piracy by a number of measures including but not limited to :
- International Convention on Armed Robbery / Hijacking, as initially suggested by Clay Maitland
- A common international law governing the capture, detention and prosecution of pirates. (e.g. it could be The Hague court for crimes against humanity)
- The support by the UN on the re-establishment of a lawful government in Somalia/Puntland with a financial contribution to the local economy by the UN;
- The creation of a UN Coast Guard to patrol the Somalian coast and clear the areas where pirates are now present.
Certainly more may be added but that is where the industry stands right now. However for every plan to be effective you need to accommodate for the proper ACTION. This is what is missing at the moment. The industry needs to move forward with actions and implementation of some if not all items described above. Every day we are adding new victims to the Piracy War. Not only seafarers but their families as well. It is time to start fighting back until we win this war. For good.