Admiral Reiterates Anti-Piracy Pledge (10/26)


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The International Transport Workers’ Federation, to which the SIU is affiliated, has issued the following news release (dated October 26) and related letters (linked below).


ITF welcomes admiral’s anti-piracy commitment


The ITF today welcomed the latest statement of determination to prevent piracy from the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, US Navy Admiral James Stavridis. The organization was responding to an exchange of letters with Admiral Stavridis, in which he reiterated the NATO task force’s determination to “use all its means to limit the freedom of movement to the Pirate Action Groups in the area.”


The Admiral was writing in response to a letter from ITF Seafarers’ Section Chair David Heindel (who also serves as secretary-treasurer of the SIU), in which he raised the ITF’s concerns over the greater use by pirates of violence and now torture, and the failure of many of the major flag states to make any real contribution to the fight against piracy – including the failure even to make sure that ships flying their flags implement best management practice.


Heindel wrote: “We need a more robust response in all areas. This would include disrupting the pirate camps on land and restricting their access to fuel and to their ability to store fuel. We would like to see their “safe anchorages’ being made less safe.


“We would like to work closely with you and to play an active part in raising the political will to take decisive action to combat piracy,” Heindel continued. “If the military had been allowed to do so a few short years ago, I doubt we would be in the situation we are now in. Our fear is the longer it is allowed to go on, the more difficult it will become to deliver an effective response. We are already starting to see a similar model of piracy emerging in West Africa. Where next?”


In reply, Admiral Stavridis wrote: “First, I want to thank you for your commitment against piracy, an evolving scourge, not only in the Indian Ocean but also, as you mentioned, emerging as a growing threat off the coast of West Africa.


“As you are well aware, the military actions at sea, conducted by several coalitions, only address the symptoms of a wider problem which remain on land in Somalia, which has suffered from an absence of government for more than two decades. I would like to assure you that we are doing as much as we can, with the assets the NATO members have allocated to the NATO counter-piracy task force.


“You are right to praise the implementation of Best Management Practices (BMP) and that is why the NATO Shipping Centre in Northwood publicizes the measures to be taken among the NATO members and on its web site.


“Regarding the legal framework about detention and prosecution of suspected pirates, NATO Headquarters is attempting to negotiate a number of arrangements to facilitate the transfer to and from some regional states. Your concern about this issue will be relayed to NATO Headquarters which is dealing with the political aspect of the problem.’


To open a copy of the letter from David Heindel, click HERE


To open a copy of the letter from Admiral Stavridis, click HERE




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