By Marcus Hand from Singapore
Asian shipowners have called for action by governments on piracy in West Africa and Southeast Asia.
The Asian Shipowners Forum (ASF) Safe Navigation & Environment Committee (SNEC) expressed ‚Äúgreat concern‚Äù over 17 incidents in Southeast Asia of small tankers being hijacked and cargoes stolen. Of the 17 attacks 12 have been successful.
The SNEC also expressed ‚Äúgrave concern‚Äù over the growing number of attacks off West Africa, where at least 23 incidents have been reported this year. In particular it expressed concern over an attack on 9 August 200 nm off the coast of Nigeria.
‚ÄúThe world‚Äôs governments have demonstrated that they have the will and the capability to address the threat of maritime piracy,‚Äù said Patrick Phoon, SNEC chairman. ‚ÄúExperience has shown us, however, that prompt and decisive action must be taken to nip the threat of piracy and armed robbery in the bud, before a handful of incidents can grow into a regional or even global problem that threatens the lives and well-being of thousands of seafarers. Action must be taken now!‚Äù
In the case of Southeast Asia the committee also took aim at commercial security firms and consultants for issuing what it sees as alarmist reports that could results in increased costs for shipowners operating in the area.
‚ÄúWhile the trend of incidents involving siphoning of fuel/oil from product and oil tankers at sea is not new, the Committee was very concerned that the surge in the number of incidents in 2014 could result in a situation where vested commercial interests use alarmist press reports to depict scenarios where vessels transiting the Straits of Malacca and Singapore are forced to pay additional premiums,‚Äù SNEC warned.