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ITF dismisses Philippines crew ban

Manila: The ITF yesterday stated that following talks with its contacts in the Philippines it believes that reports that the government there will declare a ban on citizens working in the Gulf of Aden are incorrect. Instead the authorities are proposing that Filipino seafarers should only serve in ships using the patrolled corridor or far from the Somali coastline. The government appears also set to recommend enhanced vigilance and will call on ship operators to provide anti-piracy training for crews.

ITF Maritime Coordinator Steve Cotton said: "A unilateral ban on Filipino seafarers transiting the Gulf would be simply unworkable. It would be impossible to enforce and would seriously harm the job prospects of all those affected. We're glad to see that the government instead recognises the need for improved anti-piracy measures."

He continued: "What we need to see is the Philippines actively back the policing effort that is - until the day that Somalia is able to effectively police its people and waters - the best option. What is needed now is coordinated naval force coupled with robust legal action to catch, prosecute and sentence pirates."

"The recent defence of their ships by flag states such as France and the US will have helped not just the seafarers involved but also to render kidnapping less attractive as a business option, and we need to see more of the same."  [23/04/09]

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