Somali piracy threat worsening by the week, warn shipping firms

  • Share via facebook
  • Tweet this
  • Bookmark and Share
Piracy is threatening world trade routes, shipping industry officials have said

Piracy is threatening world trade routes, shipping industry officials have said

Somali piracy is worsening by the week and governments lack the political will to tackle the crisis, which is threatening world trade routes, shipping industry officials have said.

Shippers have warned that more than 40 percent of the world's seaborne oil supply passes through the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea and is at risk from seaborne gangs, who are able to operate ever further out to sea and for longer periods, using captured merchant vessels as motherships.

The hijacking of two oil tankers last week in the northern Indian Ocean has put the key oil transport route in the firing line.

"It is getting worse on a weekly basis," said Peter Hinchliffe, secretary general of the International Chamber of Shipping.

"This has been going on now for about three years. During that period of time we have seen a lack of political will to deal with the problem and contain it," said Hinchliffe, whose association represents about 80 percent of the global industry.

Pirate gangs are making tens of millions of dollars in ransoms, and despite successful efforts to quell attacks in the Gulf of Aden, navies have been unable to contain piracy in the Indian Ocean because of the vast distances involved.

"We have very clearly got to the stage where ships which want to trade oil and energy up through the Arabian Gulf, there is no option now to avoid pirates in the region," said Howard Snaith, marine director with INTERTANKO.

"They have the whole of the Indian Ocean pretty much pinned down," said Snaith, whose members own the majority of the world's tanker fleet.

The fight against piracy has been hampered by legal ambiguities over the appropriate venue to prosecute captured suspects. A UN envoy this month proposed special courts are set up rapidly in the Somali enclaves of Somaliland and Puntland, and in Tanzania, to try captured pirates.

Shipping industry officials said the human cost was also rising as around 800 seafarers are now held captive by Somali gangs. Pirates are using torture to force crew members to operate captured motherships.

"The industry is lobbying very hard together," Hinchliffe said.

"There is a lot of inter-government discussion going on but there is a lack of determination to make sure that the warships are correctly able to arrest and prosecute in particular, but also to have some kind of interaction, to make sure that the mothership activity is limited."

Related:
Join the Discussion

Disclaimer:The view expressed here by our readers are not necessarily shared by Arabian Business, its employees, sponsors or its advertisers.

Please post responsibly. Commenter Rules

Posted by: Avina Larf

No wonder the threat is increasing, they are encouraged and better armed with the ransom money the companies keep giving them.

What do you expect?

Enter the words above: Enter the numbers you hear:

All comments are subject to approval before appearing

Further reading

Features & Analysis
Crowded skies in the Middle East

Crowded skies in the Middle East

Aviation experts give their suggestions on how to solve the Middle...

Cracking the code

Cracking the code

Strategic codeshare agreements are a win-win situation for gulf...

Stronger together? Reviewing Emirates' historic partnership with Qantas

Stronger together? Reviewing Emirates' historic partnership with Qantas

One year after the “historic” Emirates-Qantas partnership deal...

1
Most Discussed
  • 24
    World's most pierced man refused entry to the UAE

    Tolerance has its limits everywhere including Dubai and those who considered Dubai a lawless circus were held accountable...so thank you Dubai authorities... more

    Thursday, 21 August 2014 10:51 PM - Khalil
  • 23
    Baby NOT on board?

    Some of you cry babies need to get your own personal apartments on the plane ! You cry more then the babies I have seen in my travels. LOL more

    Thursday, 28 August 2014 9:10 AM - Jim
  • 21
    Israel “must be punished” over Gaza, says Dubai police chief

    This high moral ground that Mick is talking abt sound very familiar. May I remind Mick that the US & its British ally alone killed over 1 million innocent... more

    Thursday, 7 August 2014 4:12 PM - Mathew