Seafarers’ organisations, shipping companies and business leaders pushing for a solution in the fight against piracy have received a welcome boost from the British and Philippine Governments which this week have confirming their support for the global SOS SaveOurSeafarers campaign.
In the UK, correspondence between members of the SOS campaign and the British MP Henry Billingham, Minister for Africa, the UN, Overseas Territories and Conflict Issues, has led to the Minister expressing deep concern at the latest developments in pirate tactics, particularly the distressing and intolerable conditions in which seafarers are being held as well as the increasing incidences of violence being used against seafarers.
“The Government supports the campaign and the key actions it has prioritised,” said Mr Billingham. “Together with the Minister for Shipping, Mike Penning and the Minister for the Armed Forces, Nick Harvey, I intend to hold another meeting with the shipping industry soon to have an open dialogue on their concerns and discuss the action the Government is taking against the priorities of the campaign as well as the wider fight against piracy.”
In the Philippines, the Filipino Labour and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz has said in a public statement that the world’s number one source of world-class seafarers is morally bound to support global action to ensure the welfare and protection of seafarers. Ms Dimapilis-Baldoz lauded the SOS SaveOurSeafarers campaign for its “unrelenting” efforts to raise public awareness on the deleterious effects of piracy, particularly in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean. “We are always mindful of the policy of the administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III for enhanced overseas foreign workers protection. Foremost of this is to push for global call to stamp out piracy in the high seas, which is now affecting global maritime commerce” she said.
Giles Heimann, Chair of the SOS Campaign’s Steering Group, said: “We’re glad our campaign is being supported by the British and Philippine Governments. It proves that by working together as an industry we can push more powerfully for action to counter the growing and increasingly violent actions of Somali pirates against the innocent seafarers who keep world trade flowing through these crucial but increasingly dangerous trade lanes.
“We will continue to lobby support from all corners of the globe with our campaign that has received website visits from 174 countries worldwide, leading to more than 20,000 individual letters from members of the public to the heads of state of more than 100 countries around the world.”