Lagos, Nigeria (PANA) - Thursday's London Somali conference failed to mention the plight of seafarers and sidelined the issue of piracy, according to a spokesperson from SaveOurSeafers, the global campaign aimed at raising awareness of and ending Somali piracy.
The conference was attended by 55 delegations from Somalia and the international community, including Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, UK Prime Minister David Cameron and a host of African leaders.
Although the campaign welcomed the conference, its coordinated support to Somalia and its determination to eradicate piracy using a comprehensive approach on land and at sea, some of the campaign’s concerns were not addressed.
In a statement made available to PANA here Friday, a spokesperson for SOS SaveOurSeafarers campaign, said: “We’re disappointed that the conference’s phrase ‘hostages in Somalia’ failed to acknowledge the world’s seafarers and the difficulty they go through in order to keep world trade moving through this area.
''For example one former pirate hostage, Capt. Miro Alibasic, was held for three and a half months last year on the crude oil tanker, Zirku. He describes his captivity and that of his crew as ‘hell on earth’.
“We’re also concerned by some of the comments Hilary Clinton and David Cameron made about creating an international task force to discourage the payment of ransoms to pirates and other groups to eliminate the profit motive. This is deeply alarming as it may hinder the payment of ransoms for ships and seafarers, which is currently the only way ship owners can ensure the ultimate safety of hijacked seafarers.”
SOS SaveOurSeafarers is the biggest ever grouping of the international maritime industry with 30 organisations joined together to raise awareness of the human and economic cost of piracy, using approaches to politicians and industrial leader at the highest level.
It started operation in March 2011, and its main aims are to resolve the piracy problem off Somalia, to see piracy deterred, defeated and eradicated and to stop seafarers being tortured and murdered.
-0- PANA SEG 24Feb2012