The German Shipowners’ Association (VDR) once again warns that the threat to shipping posed by pirates has not yet been eliminated. While the number of piracy incidents world-wide has declined according to the piracy report of the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), this year pirates have already taken temporarily command over 110 seafarers and boarded over 100 ships (further particulars: bit.ly/2f4L6Wt).
The risk of attacks by pirates still remains high also around the Horn of Africa. According to information of the German Shipowners’ Association, pirates are alleged to have attacked a German tanker a few days ago approximately 300 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia. The private armed guards on board the vessel only succeeded in chasing away the attackers after firing warning shots. The crew and the vessel remained unscathed.
“The latest armed assault of a German merchant navy ship clearly demonstrates the piracy at the Horn of Africa remains an immediate threat to life and limb of seafarers and to peaceful maritime trade,” said Ralf Nagel, Chief Executive Officer of the German Shipowners’ Association.
During the incident, the crew members hid away in a protected room on board the ship. This is in accordance with the Anti-Piracy Policy jointly developed by maritime shipping and naval forces.
“The combination of passive protective measures, private armed guards on board and missions of the navy has proved to be effective in recent years,” said Nagel. “The threat by piracy at the Horn of Africa is similar to a smouldering fire. The moment this level of protection is lowered, allowing fresh oxygen near the source of the fire, the flames will flare up again quickly. The contribution the German Navy is making in the EU mission ATALANTA is of paramount importance for the protection of our ships’ crews.”
VDR backs educational project at the Horn of Africa
At a training centre in Djibouti near the border with Somalia, the VDR is working with the organisation SOS Children's Villages in an effort to provide young people – mostly refugees from the long-suffering neighbouring country – with working opportunities (for more information: bit.ly/1QxlXzX). Demand for qualified workers is strong in this region, especially in the maritime sector.
Ralf Nagel: “Our participation here makes a small but important contribution towards providing the children and young people with genuine job prospects. It is only through successful economic development onshore that we will be able to put a stop to piracy in the long run.”