THE CHAIN LOCKER
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Click for MarEx article
Our last post shared some recent piracy statistics, and also referred to an upcoming short film about piracy's human cost. The film was produced for the second Counter Piracy conference, co-hosted by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and DP World. You can view the film above, and it is also available on the Maritime Executive website (click the picture at left), which has a good article as well, and on the DP World site. 

It's a powerful documentary, and brings home not only the pain to captive seafarers - in torture, mistreatment, fear and death - but the incredible emotional pain suffered by their families. The two daughters of a Master still captive - who have moved heaven and earth trying to negotiate and raise the ransom for their Dad and his crew - tell their story. 

Their father is still a prisoner (at least at the time the video was filmed) and their story relates too-familiar themes: indifference of governments and companies to the captives' plight, the focus on payment of huge ransoms as the only avenue to freedom, and the lack of recourse many shipmasters face as they contemplate crossing pirate waters. These are not always the case, but we've heard them many times before!

Even in the face of the pirate threat, some ships are still slow steaming through pirate waters because of the cost of fuel, and only about 40% of ships crossing the East Africa/Indian Ocean region (my last information) contract for armed security teams - which have been the only proven method of avoiding capture to date. We see the results in continued pirate successes, even as piracy becomes more difficult and more dangerous - and the pirates correspondingly more desperate and more brutal.

The UAE conference's focus is the fate of the men who are paying the human price in suffering, death, and the emotional stress of their families. Please watch the video and tell others about it!

Think what you can do to bring more attention to piracy's human victims - consider writing to your government representatives, bring pressure within your company if you feel that their anti-piracy measures are inadequate, use social media to raise awareness, and support SOS (Save Our Seafarers - click "SOS Save Our Seafarers" in the Categories listing to the right of the page).

And let the rest of us know what you are doing, and how we can help! Whether we have to sail through pirate waters ourselves, or are working far from the problem in apparent safety, piracy is every seaman's concern.