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ASEAN shipowners urge coordinated patrol and surveillance against piracy

ASEAN shipowners urge coordinated patrol and surveillance against piracy

Hanoi: The global financial crisis, piracy and the environment were all subjects discussed at the 34th annual general meeting of the Federation of ASEAN Shipowners' Association (FASA) hosted by the Vietnam Shipowners' Association (VSA) here yesterday.

"Shipping and trade have not been spared from the chaos caused by the financial markets in the US, Europe and other parts of the world," said chairman Dr Duong Chi Dzung, also chairman of VSA. "As FASA shipowners, we will need to take urgent steps and brace ourselves for turbulence in our industry."

FASA members particularly deplored the piracy situation in the Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Somalia. Not only did it seriously threaten safe navigation and the welfare of seafarers and their families, but also if not addressed urgently could "worsen the current global economic crisis," the meeting concluded. Governments were therefore urged to "exercise strong political will to combat this problem" and to "reinforce and strengthen the coalition naval and air forces to provide urgently needed coordinated patrol and surveillance to ensure the safety of ships and crew trading through the Gulf."

It can be noted that such naval patrols implemented by the governments of ASEAN member countries Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia - plus aerial surveillance in which Thailand also took part - have so far proved highly effective in reducing attacks in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore.  

The meeting also reaffirmed its its strong commitment to protecting the marine and air environment but stressed that any measures recommended should be "the result of careful and thorough study, and should have clearly defined short-term and long?"term goals that are realistic, pragmatic and implementable." The IMO's success in amending MARPOL Annex VI - covering SOx,NOx, volatile organic compound and particulate matter emissions - was warmly endorsed, and progress on Green House Gases described as "encouraging". FASA expressed itself satisfied with the good efforts being made to develop a CO2 Design index for new buildings and a CO2 Operational index for existing ships, but  noted that other market based mechanisms are being considered and will be further discussed at future IMO meetings.  

The next meeting of FASA will be the 39th Executive Committee which will be held in conjunction with the 18th Asian Shipowners' Forum in Tainan, Taiwan on 25 May 2009.  [02/12/08]