A report detailing the overall economic cost incurred worldwide from Somali piracy was launched in Denmark on Tuesday 9 April by Oceans Beyond Piracy (OBP), a project of One Earth Future Foundation.
The report, The Economic Cost of Somali Piracy 2012, launched in the Assembly Hall of the National Museum in Copenhagen included a panel discussion with experts on counter-piracy.
This is the third annual assessment of the Economic Cost of Somali Piracy presented by OBP, and the launch coincided with meetings in Copenhagen, hosted by the Danish Foreign Ministry, addressing the prosecution of Somali pirates and the tracking of illegal financial flows. Copenhagen is home to some of the world‚Äôs largest shipping companies and associations.
The discussion panel included Ambassador Thomas Winkler of Denmark; Jan Fritz Hansen of the Danish Shipowners‚Äô Association; Simon Church of the European Union Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Operation Atalanta; Peter Sand, shipping analyst for the Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO), Jon Bellish author of the latest OBP report; and Anna Bowden author of the 2010 and 2011 reports. This year a Somali representative will also be at the event to describe some of the costs of piracy to the Somali economy.
While the numbers of attacks and hostages held by Somali pirates are down significantly says the report, those who continue to be held face deplorable conditions. The report shows that even with notable gains at sea ‚Äì achieved mostly by private armed security guards and by aggressive naval activity ‚Äì the overall cost to the international community remains considerable. The report estimates an overall cost for 2012 to be close to US $6 billion, a fall of about US $1 billion from 2011. But when considered in relation to the lower number of piracy attacks in 2012, the cost to prevent each attack has gone up significantly, notes the report.
BIMCO Deputy Secretary General Michael Lund says ‚ÄúThe findings of the report underscore the importance of the continued focus of Government and Shipping Industry stakeholders on combating piracy, and it also illustrates well that problems like the Somali piracy problem can grow extremely costly over time. The implied lesson learned is that there is every reason to tackle similar upcoming problems swiftly and with early determination to avoid the problem becoming institutionalized and to minimize the cost of restoring law and order afterwards.‚Äù
According to Jon Bellish, author of OBP‚Äôs Economic Cost of Somali Piracy 2012, ‚ÄúThe report shows that the money spent fighting pirates at sea has started to pay off. Activity is down, but even with the lower number of attacks reported in 2012 there was very little movement of resources toward investing in the long-term solution ashore.‚Äù