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Australian consumers paying the price of piracy: ASA

Sydney: Australian Shipowners Association executive director Teresa Hatch has revealed that Australian shipping companies are choosing spending up to half a million dollars per trip to sail goods around the Cape of Good Hope rather than run the gauntlet of pirates off the coast of Somalia. The vessels are being rerouted around the bottom of southern Africa, which typically takes another two to two and a half weeks.

"The decision was taken about six months ago when the violence really started to escalate," she explained, also recalling that 13 Australian passengers had a lucky escape when Somali pirates attacked their cruise ship in 2005.

Ms Hatch said the Somali pirates - who have attacked 83 ships so far this year and still hold 250 sailors hostage - were adding millions of dollars to the prices paid for consumer products. The huge ransoms are affecting just about everything, all the container goods, household goods, finished goods, she added.  [03/12/08]

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