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Saturday, 24 December 2011 18:52

US$ 9 billion does piracy cost the world shipping industry annually Featured

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>> Global: According to Indian ship owners piracy is costing the global shipping trade more than $9 billion annually. On Monday the owners demanded from the U.N. to set up a maritime force to stop pirates operating off the Somalian coast in the Indian Ocean.

Several factors cause a push up in operating costs for the global shipping industry, said Anil Devli of the Indian National Shipowners Organization, such as increased insurance costs, longer routes to avoid pirate-infested areas, armed guards placed aboard ships and ransoms paid for the release of hijacked vessels and its crews.

To ensure safety and security of sea routes in the Indian Ocean and Arabian Seas, the association has written to the Indian government to pursue their demand for a maritime force under U.N. command, in the style of the world body's peacekeeping force, Devli said.

He stated, "What is happening today is that various navies are providing escort services to ships along certain sea corridors. […] We believe a U.N. effort would resolve the issue quickly and at much less cost than what the world economy is spending due to piracy."

Devli further added that the force would have a legal mandate to board suspicious ships and have armed soldiers to protect ships at sea as well as armed naval vessels empowered to attack pirate vessels.

The association has written to India's defense and foreign ministries asking the Indian government to push their proposal at the U.N. Security Council and further proposed that the U.N. impose a "no ship zone" off the Somalian coast. This would prevent pirate ships from entering or leaving Somalian waters.

Piracy in Somalia has flourished since the nation hasn't had a functioning government since 1991. International militaries patrol the region around the Horn of Africa, but the seas are too vast for the effort to stop attacks. Currently Somali pirates are holding about 26 hijacked ships and 600 crew members in captivity.

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