Global shipping trade suffers $9 bn per annum due to piracy

The scourge of piracy is costing the global merchant vessel industry up to nine billion dollars per year, an Indian Shipowners' Association has claimed and demanded creation of a specialised force under the ambit of UN which could be deployed on vessels at high seas.

Citing growing concerns in view of repeated pirate attacks, the Indian National Shipowners' Association (INSA) has written to the External Affairs Ministry for taking up the matter forcefully at the United Nations for creation of a UN Force of military guards.

It has also approached the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Shipping, National Maritime Foundation and the Chief of Naval Staff to support the move.

"The seafarers are increasingly anxious about sailing through the expanding pirate-prone areas...The Indian Shipping Industry is of the firm view that the situation can only be resolved with a bold approach that targets the problem in evolving initiatives so as to achieve effective control on piracy at sea," said the letter sent to MEA and copies to other ministries.

One important element in this approach, it said, will be the establishment of a UN Force of military guards that can be deployed on board merchant ships.

"This can be an innovative force in terms of UN Peacekeeping activity, but it would do much to stabilise the situation, to restrict the growth of unregulated, privately-contracted armed security personnel and to allow those UN member states lacking maritime forces," it said.

When contacted, INSA CEO Anil Devli told PTI that as per estimates piracy costs the global shipping industry up to USD nine billion annually.

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