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International Conference

 

 

PIRACY ON THE HIGH SEAS-2009

 

Every year IMO celebrates World Maritime day. The exact date is left to individual Government/organisations, but is usually celebrated during the last week in September. The day is used to focus attention on the importance of Shipping Safety, Maritime Security and the Marine environment and to emphasise a particular aspect of   IMO 's work. 25th September marks the 61st celebration of World Maritime day, when the International Maritime Organisation leads the world in honouring shipping.

 

The Secretary General in his World Maritime day message to International Maritime Community, stated that IMO 's work has demonstrated, beyond doubt, that international standards - developed, agreed, implemented universally are the only effective way to regulate such a diverse and truly international industry as shipping. IMO was established by a UN conference held in Geneva in 1948, IMO is now in 61 years in the service of Shipping.

Due to the extensive network of global regulations that IMO has developed and adopted over the years shipping is nowadays a safe and secure mode of transport, clean, environmentally friendly, and very energy-efficient. The IMO bravery award has gone to a Brazilian seafarer this year. Master Mariners Society of Pakistan celebrated the world maritime day by holding a Seminar on "Piracy at High Seas", inaugurated by Chief of Naval Staff on 28th September at PC Hotel Karachi, which was largely attended by Maritime fraternity.

The one-day seminar was well attended in both sessions and foreign/Pakistani speakers made their presentation to combat piracy, by making risk-assessment, preparation, implementation of ship security plan (SSP), conduct during transiting the high risk area, actions encountering pirates and post incident actions and reporting . All issues were deliberated in detail to create awareness amongst seafarers to prevent them becoming hostage in the hands of pirates, whilst transiting Gulf of Aden and Somalian coast.

The message of Secretary General of IMO was also circulated to the audience. The international maritime bureau states that there were 140 approaches and at least 39 vessels actually detained by pirates in 2008 (source UKMTO). The participants were educated to make frequent reference to maritime security centre - horn of Africa web site www.mschoa.org for updating and incident reporting/assistance from combined tasks force (CJFF-HOA) in which Pak Navy is also participating.

The speakers were of general view that the cause of sea piracy is based on land and without removing these factors such as deprivation, socio-economic inequality and hunger the world should not think of getting rid of this menace or be able to reduce piracy by mere use of force. It was intriguing as some speakers disclosed that most of the deals and negotiations for payment of ransom money were taken place in London, where leading lawyers were engaged to get vessels and hostages released from the pirates.

Factors of rampant piracy at some of the major sea routes and narrow straits were easy access to high-tech communication equipment like mobile wireless phones and automatic weapons such as AK- 47 and RPGS. Despite the fact that piracy is the 3rd oldest profession in the world and according to history even famous Roman Emperor Julius Caesar was captured and thereafter released by pirates. Pirates were actively involved in 500 B.C.

Despite all above in today's civilised world it has assumed unprecedented activity with Gulf of Aden heavily infected with Somali Pirates and navies have partially failed to eliminate this menace despite presence of combined Naval Task Force. A foreign speaker was of the view that anyone who thought piracy, especially in Somalia context, as some deprived tribal group of disenfranchised people seeking social equality, or other lofty ideals is living in fool's paradise.

There was divergence of views expressed by all speakers as some thought it is business for Somali pirates pure and simple, but the problem for seafarers is that unlike a normal business transaction, they are prepared to kill hostages to get what they want.

It was also disclosed that about 600 Pakistani and Indian seafarers became hostage and even now about 2/300 seafarers are held as hostages in Somalia and perhaps not even the best intelligence agency in the world exactly know their whereabouts, some speakers felt that they do but they don't tell us due to their own vested interest.

Key Pakistani speakers supported the measures taken by IMO and UN but insisted that world may address the core issue of poverty alleviation, stability in Somalia. It was also expressed that whilst supporting IMO/U N measures, a caveat to their resolution is imperative to bar the foreign shipping trawlers sweeping the Somalian economic zone, thus depriving the poor fishermen of their catch for earning livelihood, otherwise more fishermen will be hooked to the business of piracy.

Final recommendations were drafted and presented in the concluding session for the government, but is anybody listening or will bother to take up issues of the trauma suffered by the families of Pakistani or other hostage seafarers to the IMO/UN. The event has been well-publicised by the media and maritime webs world-wide.

Maritime fraternity is indebted to the good media coverage by the electronic and print media, however the champions of human rights in Pakistan, totally neglect to raise the issue of Pakistani seafarers lost as hostages and the trauma of their families. This issue deserves coverage as seafarers remit about 70 million USD by working on foreign vessels. I am quite sure that the media will now highlight the problem of hostages, so that powers are persuaded to assist the families of hostages.

 

Recommendations:

 

The International Conference on Piracy on the High Seas was held at Karachi on Monday, 28th September 2009 under aegis of Master Mariners Society of Pakistan (MMSP). A number of international and national speakers with expertise in their chosen fields participated in the Conference and presented their Papers, in addition to the Keynote address by Capt. Raffat Zaheer.

 

The Conference had great participation from the seafaring community particularly Master Mariners and Ship Engineers, who enthusiastically participated in questions and answers session.  The Chief Guest at the inauguration of the Conference was Admiral Noman Bashir NI(M) who is also the Patron-in-Chief of MMSP.

 

As a result of the Papers presented and discussions held on topics of vital importance, the following recommendations were evolved:-

 

  1. The piracy on the High Seas represents a high degree of threat to all seafarers including Pakistanis in the pirate infested areas and the Conference recommends to the international community and the national governments to take all essential and effective steps  for protection of lives and assets.

  2. Shipowners, ship operators, ship masters and crews must be encouraged to follow IMO’s Maritime Safety -  Committee guidelines related to attacks on ships by pirates, in respect of preparedness to deal with the existing threat.

  3. The shipping industry must develop best management practices to deter piracy and the ship operators and ship masters should adopt and implement the same.

  4. Flag states must discourage carrying and use of fire arms by seafarers since.

     

    1. The risk of accident with firearms is great; carriage on board may encourage attackers to carry more dangerous weapons, escalating an already adverse situation.

    2. Firearms on board may themselves become an attractive targets for pirates.

    3. Firearms pose a greater danger to ship carrying inflammable or other dangerous cargo

     

  5. Shipowners and ship operators may use unarmed security personnel at their discretion to provide a degree of protection to ship crew.

  6. Carriage of armed security or military personnel on board merchant ship, if so thought essential, must be duly authorized by the government of the flag state and be subject to flag state legislation.

  7. Piracy is a land based activity and must be tackled ashore. It does not originate nor foster at sea. Hence, tackling piracy at sea only, will not effectively eliminate such activities.

  8. While patrolling in infested areas the naval ships do have a deterrent effect, however, this is not a long term solution to this menace.

  9. Rich and affluent nations must provide economic aid to the poor countries, which harbour Pirates and promote Piracy.  Specific agreements need to be signed between a consortium of aid-giving countries and governments of states of pirates infested areas, under the auspices of the United Nations.  The economic aid so provided must be used exclusively for development of the area inhabited by the pirates, for creating job opportunity for them and to improve law and order in the country.

 

 

 

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Dear Members
kindly note that submission of Nomination form has been extended till 9 May 2015, due to annual dinner event. Ensure that the Nomination form should reach MMSP office on or 9 May 2015.

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PAKISTAN MARINE ACADEMY IN DOLDRUM

If, we go into time Tunnel, the era from 2003-2007, efforts were made to convert Pakistan Marine Academy to Pakistan Maritime University, so that different faculties of Maritime education may be established locally.

 

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May 14, 2015

Executive Committee Meeting of Master Mariner Society of Pakistan will be held at 17.30 Hrs. at Room No 18, Old Ralli Brothers Building, Talpur Road, Karachi.

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