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Gov't calls for full protection of Filipino seafarers against pirate attacks
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
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The Philippine government urged today concerned companies and governments to ensure full protection of Filipino seafarers against pirate attacks off the coast of Somalia.
Philippine Permanent Representative to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Ambassador Enrique Manalo said "the duty of the crew is to safely operate the ships which carry 80 percent of global trade. It is in turn the responsibility of shipping companies and Flag States to protect them from the scourge of piracy as they carry out this duty".
He said the Philippine government continues to advocate for the implementation of Best Management Practices (BMPs) codified by the commercial shipping sector as the primary defense against pirate attacks.
These practices include the use of razor wires around the vessel to deter pirates from climbing on board, joining convoys travelling under the protection of naval escorts, and the use of citadels or a safe room where crew seek shelter as they await rescue by naval forces currently deployed in the waters off Somalia to protect civilian vessels.
Noting the successful protection of merchant vessels by privately contracted armed guards on board these vessels, Manalo said the Philippines has participated in international efforts to regulate their deployment in order to weed out incompetent and ill- trained security personnel.
"While the adoption of BMPs is our preference, the use of armed guards complements its implementation thereby providing better protection to the crew," he added. According to government reports, since 2006, a total of 748 Filipinos, in 61 vessels, have been hijacked off the coast of Somalia.
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