More is needed to be done in order to eradicate maritime piracy

Maritime piracy has a tremendous financial and human cost was noted yesterday, in a special event on piracy, in the Athens office of the European Parliament. Delegates like Dr. Anna Bredima, rapporteur for the opinion recently adopted from the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and Mr. George Koumoutsakos, member of the European Parliament and the rapporteur for the Parliament’s resolution on piracy, were the main contributors to the discussion which took place yesterday. The human cost of piracy is critical, with 208 seafarers currently been held as hostages around the world. The financial cost is another major problem, with piracy cost thought to range between $7-12 billion worldwide.

According to Dr. Bredima, a further raising of public opinion’s awareness on the issue of piracy is necessary, in order for the EU and other legislative authorities to be pressured to put an end to the major issue of maritime piracy.

“We are not under any illusion that short-term measures can wipe piracy out,” said Dr Bredima, insisting on long-term strategies combining capacity building in failed states and direct economic incentives offering credible livelihood alternatives to piracy, together with the proper education of youth, in order to deter them from constantly “feeding” pirates in men. She also noted that, in order for these efforts to be successful, a higher level of close cooperation is needed between national Coastguards and Navies, in pirate-infested countries, like those of West Africa, Indonesia and the Caribbean region. At the same time, the case of satellite monitoring of all vessels transiting those high risk areas, is another measure expected to be put forward in the near future, in a bid to further limit piracy attacks.
Mr. Koumoutsakos said that a side effect of concentrating anti-piracy efforts on Somalia was that it just re-emerged in other parts of the world, including the Gulf of Guinea and western Africa. This means that the EU needs to put forward a compehensive strategy at sea, in order to eradicate the phenomenon. After all, the necessary framework is in place through UNCLOS.

The event was hailed by the Minister of Shipping, Mr. Kostas Moussouroulis, who said via a written message, that the Ministry is willing to put forward more initiatives to the IMO, the EU and other international for a, in order to highlight the piracy issue and adopt more measures. At the same time, the Ministry is contemplating the voting of a Decree of State, which will determine and modus operandi and accreditation of the Hellenic Maritime Security companies, which are currently operating and manning commercial vessels with armed guards.
Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide

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