Pirate threats 'send shipping costs soaring'
Dubai, January 2, 2012
The growing number of pirate raids and the resultant security nightmares facing the international shipping industry have led to an steep hike in shipping and insurance costs, according to maritime experts.
This worrying scenario has had a knock-on effect on the oil and gas industry in the region, as most of these valuable cargos pass through threatened areas in the Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and Red Sea regions, they added.
These security challenges which affect the industry as a whole and possible solutions and counter measures will be discussed in detail at the upcoming Intersec, the Middle East’s greatest gathering of the security, safety and policing industries.
'Taking place for the first time at Intersec, the Maritime Security conference will bring together regional shippers, security and safety experts and other stakeholders to discuss and provide key inputs into what is a vexing problem,' revealed Ahmed Pauwels, CEO of Epoc Messe Frankfurt, organiser of Intersec.
Maritime Security Conference is part of the comprehensive programme of security conferences at Intersec which will run at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre from January 15 to 17.
'New security tactics, the need for armed guards on board cargo ships and better communications among shipping convoys and escort ships will be amongst the key topics to be discussed at the conference,” he added.
Faced with mounting insurance and security costs, shippers, importers and exporters alike are increasingly looking for security solutions to safeguard their cargos, which as a result end up costing the end user even more.
“Maritime security has become a high-priority topic for the international community, ever since the threat posed by pirates has become more acute,” said Pauwels.
“As the cost of shipping escalates thanks to steep insurance premiums to cover possible ransom demands and the need to make security arrangements including armed escorts, it has become imperative to come up with effective tactics and counter measures to combat the piracy threat.”
The increase in pirate attacks on merchant vessels has now spread far and wide across the Indian Ocean, he pointed out.
In 2010, there were 219 reported attacks in which 49 vessels were hijacked, 1016 seafarers taken hostage, 13 seafarers injured, and 8 seafarers killed.
As of mid-2011 there were more than 150 pirate attacks, 21 hijackings, over 360 seafarers taken hostage, and 7 seafarers killed by pirates. Currently, more than 20 ships and 430 seafarers are being held hostage by pirates for ransom.
Apart from maritime security, the conference will address key current concerns in various industries ranging from aviation and IT security to commercial and homeland security.
High-powered panels of industry experts will present papers and discuss the prevaleant safety and security scenario on the international and regional stage.-TradeArabia News Service