The Round Table of international shipping associations has expressed a united front of outrage at the execution of a seafarer by Somali pirates.
BIMCO, the International Chamber of Shipping, INTERCARGO, INTERTANKO and the International Transport Workers’ Federation have expressed their anger that Somali pirates executed, apparently in cold blood, a seafarer on the merchant ship ‘Beluga Nomination’ which had been attacked and hijacked by armed pirates on January 22 in the Indian Ocean, 390 nautical miles north of the Seychelles.
Three seafarers were reportedly taken aside for “punishment” after an attempt by the Seychelles coastguard to free the hostage crew resulted in the death of a pirate.
“We express our deepest sympathy to the seafarers involved and to their anxious families,” said a BIMCO statement.
“The international shipping industry is truly disturbed at reports that pirates have been torturing seafarers physically and mentally, often in the most barbaric ways, including hanging them over the ship’s side by ropes around their ankles with their heads under water and even subjecting them to the horrendous practice of keelhauling.
“We wholeheartedly condemn these violent acts and once again strongly urge governments to empower their naval forces to take fast and robust action against pirates, and the vessels under their control, before passing ships are boarded and hijacked.”
This latest action appears to represent a fundamental shift in the behaviour of Somali pirates.
“The cold-blooded murder of an innocent seafarer means that ship owners and their crews will be re-evaluating their current determination to ensure that this vital trade route remains open – over 40 percent of the world’s seaborne oil passes through the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea,” continued the statement.
“The shipping industry will be looking at all possible options, including alternative routes, which could have a dramatic effect on transport costs and delivery times – piracy is already estimated to cost the global economy between US$7-12 billion per year.”