Seafarers’ organisations, shipping companies together with business leaders and the biggest ever grouping of shipping industry associations, which have joined forces to campaign against Somali piracy, have received a welcome boost from the British and Philippine Governments confirming their support for the global SOS SaveOurSeafarers campaign.
In the UK, correspondence between members of the SOS campaign and the British MP Henry Billingham, Minister for Africa, the UN, Overseas Territories and Conflict Issues, have led to the Minister expressing deep concern at the latest developments in pirate tactics, particularly the distressing and intolerable conditions in which seafarers are being held as well as the increasing incidences of violence being used against seafarers. “The Government supports the campaign and the key actions it has prioritised,” said Mr Billingham. “Together with the Minister for Shipping, Mike Penning and the Minister for the Armed Forces, Nick Harvey, I intend to hold another meeting with the shipping industry soon to have an open dialogue on their concerns and discuss the action the Government is taking against the priorities of the campaign as well as the wider fight against piracy.”
In the Philippines, the Filipino Labour and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz has said in a public statement that the world's number one source of world-class seafarers is morally bound to support global action to ensure the welfare and protection of seafarers. Baldoz lauded the SOS SaveOurSeafarers campaign for its "unrelenting" efforts to raise public awareness on the deleterious effects of piracy, particularly in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean. "We are always mindful of the policy of the administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III for enhanced overseas foreign workers protection," she said. Foremost of this is to push for global call to stamp out piracy in the high seas, which is now affecting global maritime commerce," she added.
Giles Heimann, Chair of the SOS Campaign’s Steering Group, said: “We’re glad our campaign is being supported by the British and Philippine Governments. It proves that by working together as an industry we can push more powerfully for action to counter the growing and increasingly violent actions of Somali pirates against the innocent seafarers who keep world trade flowing through these crucial but increasingly dangerous trade lanes. We will continue to lobby support from all corners of the globe with our campaign that has received website visits from 174 countries worldwide, leading to more than 20,000 individual letters from members of the public to the heads of state of more than 100 countries around the world.” See www.SaveOurSeafarers.com
• SaveOurseafarers was established in March 2011 and is calling for unified action to raise awareness of the human and economic cost of piracy
• A total of 3573 seafarers have been held hostage by armed gangs of Somali pirates at some point between 2005 - 2010
• Piracy costs the global economy up to$12bn a year
• 90% of the world's food, fuel, raw materials and manufactured goods are delivered by sea
• Our campaign has gained support across 178 countries worldwide.
• Supporting organisations include: ASF (Asian Shipowners’ Forum), BIMCO (international shipping association), Britannia (P&I insurance), CEFOR (Nordic Association of Marine Insurers), DNK (Den Norske Krigsforsikring for Skib), GARD (P&I insurance), GSF (Global Shippers’ Forum), IMEC (Int’l Maritime Employers' Committee), ICS/ISF (International Chamber of Shipping/International Shipping Federation) IMB (International Maritime Bureau), IMO (International Maritime Organization), Intercargo (International Assoc’n of Dry Cargo Shipowners), INTERTANKO (Int’l Association of Independent Tanker Owners), InterManager (International Ship Managers’