Recent efforts cut piracy success rate by 50 per cent
By Derek Baldwin, Chief Reporter
Dubai: True to its word to stop Somali piracy from thwarting valuable cargo ships passing unfettered through the Gulf of Aden every day, the UAE pledged $1 million to an international anti-piracy fund on Wednesday.
After Sheikh Maktoum Bin Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, opened the second international piracy in Dubai on Wednesday, Dr Anwar Mohammad Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, said that the financial commitment will help the international community wage war on a piracy scourge that is estimated to cost shipping up to $12 billion annually.
Gargash said he hoped the donation would “help bring back peace and stability to Somalia” and will help coordinated military and government campaigns to stamp out escalating violence upon seafarers.
“We are deeply concerned about their suffering,” Gargash said of the estimated 235 hostages who remain in pirates hands awaiting ransoms to be paid for their release by respective shipping companies.
Sultan Ahmad Bin Sulayem, Chairman of DP World, said that businesses such as DP World cannot forget the plight of kidnapped seafarers who are subjected to appalling conditions.
“The trauma, fear and unspeakable suffering these innocent people and their families are going through is difficult to imagine,” he said, adding that the trend has become a “human tragedy.”
He said that for “the fifth year running, the busiest seaborne trade route in the world, the Gulf of Aden and the western Indian Ocean, continues to be held ransom by a relatively small but aggressive group of pirates.”
He acknowledged that pirates are being foiled noting that their “success rate has been halved from 28 per cent in 2009 to 14 per cent last year.”
Shaikh Sharif Shaikh Ahmad, President of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia said yesterday that his country is spending 1 per cent of the billions in international expenses to arrest piracy in Gulf of Aden and beyond.
Somalia simply doesn’t have the resources to hunt down skiffs full of young criminals who have resorted to theft on the high seas to make a living in a country where prospects are grim, he said.
“Marine forces don’t have enough weapons to follow pirates all over the Red Sea and Indian Ocean,” Ahmed said.
As Somalia prepares to welcome self-government with a new 225-member parliament by August 20, the government is now “training marines to have a wide-scale maritime campaign in order to defeat such pirates,” he said.
He said that 30,000 ships pass through regional ports every year carrying 33 million barrels of oil per day representing 15 per cent of international trade shipments.
Henry Bellingham, UK Minister for Africa and Counter Piracy, praised Somali government reform efforts and said “it’s incumbent on the politicians of Somalia to keep up the momentum…the solution to piracy relied on the land.”
A new Somali government can usher in new “quick-impact programs” to create stability, jobs and hope, Bellingham said.
Dr Augustine Mahiga, special representative of the Secretary General of UNPOS, told delegates that the first permanent government in 21 years will “make it possible for law and order; it will make it possible for employment.”
Mahiga said Al Shabaab rebels have been driven out of Mogadishu as government forces push the insurgents farther north, bringing order back to the country.
This article was posted by Neptune Maritime Security via gulfnews.com. MaritimeSecurity.Asia in cooperation with www.neptunemaritimesecurity.com