Big 3 carriers to partner on piracy policy
The world's top three ocean container lines based on operating capacity — Maersk Line, Mediterranean Shipping Co. and CMA CGM — said they have established a partnership to deal with piracy in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean.
The move comes in the wake of increased attacks in the region by Somali-based pirates. There are 16 ships and 354 crewmembers being held hostage for ransom in Somali waters.
Cooperation between the three liner companies will involve exchanging information on safety measures, piracy policies and procedures, and coordinating communication with other private sector parties and governments.
'Our first and foremost concern is the safety and security of our crews. Piracy continues to be a problem for the shipping industry and if we want to address it effectively, we as ship owners must cooperate,' the shipping lines said in a joint statement.
The carriers said they fully support the use of recommended best practices for security, the efforts of international navies, prosecution of captured pirates and regional capacity building for coastal defenses.
Meanwhile, a campaign organized by several shipping associations, including the International Chamber of Shipping and INTERTANKO, insurance groups and seafarer unions, said it plans to present an 'End Piracy Now' petition with 920,000 signatures to the International Maritime Organization in London Thursday, which is designated by the United Nations as World Maritime Day.
'At a time when some countries are actively escorting merchant ships and pursuing pirates and a few — too few — are prosecuting them when caught, the majority, including many of those who make the most from shipping, are doing little or nothing. For us, this campaign is about making everyone step up and shoulder their responsibilities,' said David Cockroft, general secretary of the International Transport Workers' Federation, in a statement.
The coalition is asking governments to devote more military resources to combating piracy at sea, take immediate steps to secure the safe release of hostages, and work through international bodies to solve the governance problems in Somalia that are the root cause of piracy.
The group said more than 25,000 vessels plying international trade are at risk from piracy off of East Africa, not including fishing fleets and local cargo vessels. It says fear of piracy has already shrunk its available workforce and led to crew shortages. ' Eric Kulisch