By Maricel Cruz
An administration ally on Monday raised concern over the increasing number of attacks and hijacking by Somali pirates, stressing that the government should draw up¬†¬† measures¬†¬† to ensure the safety¬† of Filipino seafarers in the open seas.
Citing the International Maritime Bureau-Piracy Reporting Centre,¬† Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez said that on July 16, 2012, a¬†¬† total of 180 attacks and 20 hijackings by Somali pirates had been recorded‚Äîwhere 212 hostages and 11 vessels were held captive,¬† Rodriguez disclosed.
The Department of Foreign Affairs¬† to make representations with the IMB-PRC, the world‚Äôs only manned centre receiving and disseminating reports of piracy and armed robbery 24 hours a day across the globe, to come up with guidelines that could help protect and provide assistance to Filipino seafarers in cases of attacks by pirates in the seas.
Rodriguez¬† said DFA records showed that about 45 Filipino seafarers on board five ships were held captive by Somali pirates on July 3, 2012 with some reportedly in detention since March 29, 2012. Last March 26, 2012, eight Filipino seafarers on board the Iranian-owned Eglantine ship were held hostage when the ship was hijacked by pirates off the south-western coast of India.
This remains a significant threat resulting in estimated worldwide losses of US$13 to $16 billion per year and loss of lives due to piracy in the seas,¬† Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez said the country is the world‚Äôs main supplier of seamen since 1987. Filipino seamen comprise more than 25 percent of 1.5 million mariners worldwide, the ‚Äúsingle biggest nationality bloc‚Äù in the shipping industry.