Hong Kong ship owners call for action on piracy
The Hong Kong Shipowners Association is calling for rapid action to address the upsurge in piracy incidents in the Gulf of Aden.
“This is a problem that must be solved as soon as possible, both by preventative and defensive action by the world’s navies to protect the safe passage of world trade, as well as by the provision of aid and humanitarian work in Somalia, in order to restore a working government and install effective law enforcement along the Somalia Coast,” said Arthur Bowring, managing director of the association.
He made his comments after the hijacking of yet another Hong Kong registered ship, the Delight, in the Gulf of Aden on Tuesday and the Saudi Aramco tanker Sirius Star over the weekend off the coast of Kenya.
Hong Kong said the pirates have extended their operating zone to include the main oil trade route from the Arabian Gulf to Europe and the United States along the East Coast of Africa, and that the “the risk to shipping is extremely high, and getting worse.”
“The pirates are well armed, well organized and superbly efficient,” Bowring said. “While there are some preventative measures that can be put in place by the owner and master of the ship, there is very little more that can be done in the event of an attack. The terrifying nature of the attack, with no apparent shortage of firepower and ammunition, means that the seafarers and the ship itself are under threat of severe injury and damage. And boarding of ships by the pirates under such conditions is unpreventable.”
Merchant seafarers are not trained in the use of arms, and merchant ships are not war ships, the association said. But it said they are now trading through areas within which the potential for attack is extremely high.