Executive Briefings

Ship Owners Who Pay Ransom Hinder Anti-Piracy Efforts

The recent revelation that the owner of an Algerian cargo ship whose crew was held by Somali pirates paid them $2.6m in ransom is yet another indication that the rewards these denizens reap for their illegal, life-threatening work remain a serious stumbling block to ending maritime organized crime, said William H. Watson, president and COO of AdvanFort Company, a maritime security solutions provider.

Ship Owners Who Pay Ransom Hinder Anti-Piracy Efforts

"Those ship owners and operators who have still not hired a highly-reputable private maritime security company continue to risk paying what amounts to an illegal tax in support of further organized maritime extortion," Watson sad. "It is a cost that ends up being borne by all of us."

Watson noted that the MV Blida, carrying 17 Algerians, six Ukrainians, two Filipinos, one Jordanian and one Indonesian, was overtaken by a gang of heavily- armed pirates on its way from Oman to Tanzania, with almost all the hostages freed after a bag full of cash was dropped from a plane to the captors.

"The fact that Rear Admiral Bob Tarrant, the Operation Commander of the EU Naval Force, has just issued a warning that Somali pirates still remain determined to get out to sea and attack easy targets should be a wake-up call for those still asleep at the helm of security for their companies," Watson added.

"Tarrant's observation that piracy's threat in the Gulf of Aden and elsewhere is not over, but is merely contained for now, means that the costs associated with world-wide shipping remain burdened by a transnational security threat that carries with it an unnecessary tax that unfairly buffets the maritime industry and those consumers whose life depends on the free flow of commerce."

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"Those ship owners and operators who have still not hired a highly-reputable private maritime security company continue to risk paying what amounts to an illegal tax in support of further organized maritime extortion," Watson sad. "It is a cost that ends up being borne by all of us."

Watson noted that the MV Blida, carrying 17 Algerians, six Ukrainians, two Filipinos, one Jordanian and one Indonesian, was overtaken by a gang of heavily- armed pirates on its way from Oman to Tanzania, with almost all the hostages freed after a bag full of cash was dropped from a plane to the captors.

"The fact that Rear Admiral Bob Tarrant, the Operation Commander of the EU Naval Force, has just issued a warning that Somali pirates still remain determined to get out to sea and attack easy targets should be a wake-up call for those still asleep at the helm of security for their companies," Watson added.

"Tarrant's observation that piracy's threat in the Gulf of Aden and elsewhere is not over, but is merely contained for now, means that the costs associated with world-wide shipping remain burdened by a transnational security threat that carries with it an unnecessary tax that unfairly buffets the maritime industry and those consumers whose life depends on the free flow of commerce."

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Ship Owners Who Pay Ransom Hinder Anti-Piracy Efforts