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PHL Government Adopts Measures to Ensure Safety of Filipino Seafarers

Jan 09, 2012

 To protect Filipino seamen from rampant sea piracy in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced that the Philippines is planning to adopt measures that would give more protection to seafarers.

In an interview done by Inquirer (http://inquirer.net), the spokesperson for DFA, Raul Hernandez said, “The plan calls for, among other measures, the adoption of what the merchant shipping industry refers to as “best management practices.”

The ship protection procedures that they are planning to implement includes the following:

  • Putting anti-piracy alarms all over the ships
  • Arrangements for watch and lookout
  • Installing razor wires
  • Providing nig vision optics
  • Putting water cannons

Hernandez added, “The government is also making arrangements with ships’ foreign principals and local manning agencies to travel along a safe corridor. We have also taken up the issue of maritime safety before the United Nations and other international organizations.”

The Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia is composed of 70 nations that aim to fight the sea-crimes and the Phillipines is a member of the group. Other countries that are part of it are Japan, Russia, United States of America, China and United Kingdom.

Reports reveal that from 2006 to 2011, 769 Filipino seamen were kidnapped by pirates in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean. Most of them were released safely but it was believed that their principals paid a ransom for them.

 

On the other hand, the US Department of State reported that Washington had “partnered with the shipping industry to improve practical steps merchant ships and crews can take to avoid, deter, delay and counter piracy attacks.”

The US Department said, “The shipping industry’s use of best management practices and the increasing use of privately contracted armed security personnel are among these measures which have proven to be the most effective deterrents against pirate attacks.”

The US State added, “fighting piracy is a vital element of the US strategic objectives in Somalia, which are to help this stressed nation to regain stability, eliminate terrorism and respond to the humanitarian needs of its people.

“Piracy has significant and direct implications for every nation—from rising danger to seafarers to impact on humanitarian aid deliveries and global commerce. To address this shared security challenge, the US is actively pursuing a broad, coordinated and comprehensive multilateral approach to combating piracy focused on security, prevention and deterrence.”

The US, the agency said, is “proud to be a founding partner of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia,” established in 2009 pursuant to UN Security Council Resolution 1851.

The group has “facilitated the operational coordination of an unprecedented international naval effort from more than 30 countries working together to protect transiting vessels; worked to build the capacity of Somalia and other countries (in east Africa) to combat piracy; and launched a new working group aimed at disrupting the pirate enterprise ashore, including its financial networks through approaches similar to those used to address other types of organized transnational crime networks,” the state department said.

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