DFA urge to seek the help of UN vs sea piracy

LAWMAKERS have urged the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to seek the help of the United Nations (UN) and other international organizations in addressing the unabated crime of piracy victimizing foreign nationals and Filipino seafarers as well.

Reps. Rufus Rodriguez (2nd District, Cagayan de Oro) and Maximo Rodriguez, Jr. (Party-list, Abante Mindanao), authors of House Resolution 2622, said the DFA should also make representations with the International Maritime Organizations (IMO) to come up with measures providing assistance and security to Filipino seafarers.

“It is imperative for the government to act and urge IMO, the United Nations and other agencies with responsibility for the safety and security of the shipping industry and the prevention of maritime pollution by ships, to enact measures and guidelines to ensure the safety and provide assistance, not just for Filipino seafarers, but all the seafarers in the open seas,” Rodriguez said.

Citing a DFA report, Rodriguez said about 45 Filipino seafarers on board five ships were being held captive by Somali pirates since July 3, 2012.

The report said last March 26, 2012, eight Filipino seafarers on board the Iranian-owned Eglantine ship were held hostage when the ship was hijacked by pirates off the south-western coast of India.

“This criminal activity remains a significant threat resulting in estimated worldwide losses of $13 to $16 billion per year and loss of lives due to piracy in the seas,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said the Philippines has been the world’s main supplier of seamen since 1987. “Filipino seamen comprise more than 25 percent of 1.5 million mariners worldwide, the single biggest nationality bloc in the shipping industry,” he said.

Rodriguez said Filipino seamen are being recruited by various shipping companies in North America, South America, Europe and Asia, such as Japan, the United States, Panama, Liberia, Cyprus, Bahamas, Jamaica, Greece, Malta, Singapore, Norway and the Republic of Germany.

Rodriguez said the International Maritime Bureau-Piracy Reporting Centre (IMB-PRC), the world’s only manned centre receiving and disseminating reports on piracy and armed robbery, reported 180 attacks and 20 hijackings since July 16, 2012.

The IMB-PRC said Somali pirates are responsible for 69 attacks and 13 hijackings. The pirates are also holding some 212 hostages and 11 vessels.

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