Non-governmental organization, International Seafarers’ Action Center in Manila, renews its call to the United Nations to resolve, peacefully, the problem of piracy in the Horn of Africa, particularly near Somalia, as two Filipino seafarers are killed on the attempt to thwart the hijacking of M/V Eglanti last April 2.In a statement, ISAC secretary-general Atty. Joseph Entero published in their journal this May, piracy is not only an issue of kidnappings, looting, ransom and military might but an issue of social justice. “The real root of the piracy in the Horn of Africa, more particular in Somalia, is the environmental, political and economic catastrophes that the Somalis faced. Only a few people probably know that there had already 300 people had died in the mid-2000 due to the dumping of toxic wastes in the Somali waters, that many pregnant women have suffered miscarriages and giving birth to defective babies, and that children had been suffering from unknown skin diseases and bleeding gums, because of the barrels and barrels of toxic wastes, allegedly dumped by European fleets there,” Entero said. Aside from these, the Somalis are also losing much income due to illegal trawlers operating in the area. “A report from a Somali newspaper, Somali Land in 2009, stated that Somali fisherfolks are losing some US$300 to $500 worth of catch due to the proliferation of illegal foreign trawlers in their area. The $30 to $50 million worth of ransom money that these fishermen-turned-pirates get from their piracy adventure is just 10 percent of what Somalia is losing, every year, because of these illegal fish trawlers,” he said. Since 2008, Filipino seafarers had fallen victim of Somali pirates, suffering from psychological and physical torture, as long as their shipping company does not comply with the pirates’ demands. Meanwhile, Entero reiterated that militarist solution will not work to a problem that has a sociopolitical and socioeconomic in nature. “We’re not saying that we condone the adventures of those Somali fishermen, neither we justify the alleged “correctness” of their move; what we are saying here, in order to stop the spate of hijacking, the hostaging of crews, and the tortures and the killings, we need to craft a long term solution to the crises that are plaguing Somalia: the poverty, the lack or absence of a good government, the mafia that are capitalizing on the piracy, whose members, saddenly are corrupt Somali politicians and profit-greedy local businessmen, and the ecological disaster that had been brought by the toxic wastes dumped on their seas and shores by big ships passing there. Only through a diplomatic and political solution that this problem, we believe, would eventually end,” the maritime labor lawyer said.
This article was posted by Neptune Maritime Security via readersupportednews.org. MaritimeSecurity.Asia in cooperation with www.neptunemaritimesecurity.com