More carriers vow to avoid area around Somalia
More carriers are beginning to avoid routing ships through the Suez Canal and Gulf of Aden because of the upsurge in piracy.
A.P. Moller – Maersk said Thursday, “Vessels without adequate speed or freeboard will for the time being avoid the Gulf of Aden and seek alternative routing south of the Cape of Good Hope and east of Madagascar. However, based upon availability of escorts these vessels may join naval convoy transit in the Gulf of Aden.”
Maersk said it was taking to action to “ensure the safety of our crews as well as vessels and cargo.
“The policy change will primarily impact our tanker vessels. Only three container vessels will be affected and we expect to further limit the impact by redeployment,” the company said.
“We believe that piracy in the Gulf of Aden is a threat to important international trade lanes and therefore an international security issue. It must be addressed by relevant authorities and the international community. It is not a problem that A.P. Moller – Maersk or the shipping industry can solve alone,” said S'ren Skou, partner and member of the company’s executive board.
The tanker owner group INTERTANKO also issued a statement Wednesday expressing support for “the many tanker operators who have declared their intention to avoid the area off Somalia’s coasts and in the Gulf of Aden, and to sail instead via the Cape of Good Hope and East of Madagascar. We fully appreciate their reasons for reaching such a decision. Understandably many more members are now considering similar action.”
Bill Box, a spokesman for the group, said in addition to Maersk, they include the giant tanker company Frontline and the chemical parcel tanker operator Odjfell. He said there are “definitely others ' but I am afraid that we are not at liberty to reveal who they are — until they decide to go public.”