Merchant seafarers deserve our protection

We have crossed the threshold of a new year, but one issue may continue to haunt shippers in 2011: the scourge of global piracy.

By ·

We have crossed the threshold of a new year, but one issue may continue to haunt shippers in 2011: the scourge of global piracy.

According to the International Chamber of Commerce, (ICC) over 500 seafarers – of many different nationalities – are currently being held hostage by Somali pirates.

“In fear for their safety, and even of their lives, and deprived of contact with their families, these seafarers have also suffered the trauma of having their ships attacked with automatic weapons, prior to being kidnapped for ransom,” said the ICC.  “Many have been held captive for several months, often in the most appalling conditions, by armed criminals who can be violent and unpredictable.”

As we have noted in this blog before, merchant seafarers are too often out of sight and out of mind.  It is vital that the international community focuses on the plight of those held in Somalia, as well as the tens of thousands of ships’ crew who keep the supply chain strong and resilient.

The ICC observed that there has been an unprecedented degree of cooperation among the world’s military navies, whose dedicated personnel are seeking to provide protection to merchant shipping.  But the number of navy ships available is simply insufficient to prevent vulnerable ships from being attacked.  Moreover, 85 percent of those pirates pursued and captured end up being released, only to reoffend with impunity.  The risk/reward ratio is still far too much in the pirates’ favor.? ?

“A few months ago there was an incredible global response to plight of the miners trapped in Chile,” said the ICC.  “The 500 seafarers, held hostage in Somalia, are also isolated and terrified, and deserve similar recognition from the media and the public at large.”

Since January 2008, over 2,600 seafarers have been held hostage by Somali pirates.  Additional information is published by the ICC International Maritime Bureau, which does an excellent job collecting statistics and information about piracy attacks on behalf of the global shipping industry.


About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

Subscribe to Logistics Management Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Article Topics

Piracy · Shipping · Supply Chain · All Topics
Latest Whitepaper
How Lean is your Lean Quality Program?
Avoid quality program bureaucracy that can sap logistics productivity and increase costs
Download Today!
From the September 2016 Issue
Indecision revolving around three complex supply chain elements—transportation, technology and organizational structure—finds many companies waiting to commit to a strategic path. However, waiting too long will only result in a competitive disadvantage that will be difficult to overcome in today’s fast-paced, global economy.
Time for Asia’s ports to rebuild
Is the freight recession upon us…again?
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Supply Chain Best Practices: Visibility to In-Transit Inventory
During this webcast you'll learn on how various organizations have gained instant access to in-transit parcels and given access to this information to stakeholders.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
25th Annual Masters of Logistics
Indecision revolving around three complex supply chain elements—transportation, technology and...
2016 Quest for Quality: Winners Take the Spotlight
Which carriers, third-party logistics providers and U.S. ports have crossed the service-excellence...

Regional ports concentrate on growth and connectivity
With the Panama Canal expansion complete, ocean cargo gateways in the Caribbean are investing to...
Digital Reality Check
Just how close are we to the ideal digital supply network? Not as close as we might like to think....