ITF Fears Pirate Arms Race

An arms race may develop between pirates and the shipping industry given the widespread use of security teams to prevent vessels from being hijacked, the ITF has warned.

It raised the fear in a letter to the US Navy which calls for land-based assaults on pirate strongholds and a crackdown on known pirate anchorages.

David Heindel, chairman of the ITF, wrote in an open letter to US Admiral James Stavridis: “While we support the carriage of armed security guards we do not believe that they are an end-all solution.

“They are likely to result in an arms race and the pirates again changing their tactics.”

Heindel – who expressed concerns about the greater use of violence experienced by seafarers who encounter pirates – called for a more robust response from counter-piracy forces.

“This would include disrupting the pirate camps on land and restricting their access to fuel and to their ability to store fuel,” he said.

“We would like to see their ‘safe anchorages’ being made less safe.”

Navy experts have said pirate camps represent a straightforward military target but a tricky one legally and diplomatically.

Heindel also ripped into leading flag states for failing to make a meaningful contribution to the counter piracy effort.

“It is clear that they are not effectively ensuring that ships which fly their flag implement the BMP,” he said.

“Neither are they taking any measures to exercise their jurisdiction on the pirates that attack vessels which fly their flag.”

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