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Korean shipowners join international piracy crisis call

Korean shipowners join international piracy crisis call

Seoul: The Korea Shipowners' Association (KSA) has spoken out over what it calls 'brutal' pirate activities in the Gulf of Aden, including vessels 'Bright Ruby', which was hijacked by Somali pirates on September 10 with 21 crews from Korea and Myanmar onboard, and the South Korean-flagged bulk carrier 'Samsun Elory', which was attacked in the region on September 16. In total over 30 vessels have been attacked by Somali pirates so far this year, it notes, and more than 130 seafarers taken as hostages for 'exorbitant ransom'.

The KSA says it therefore fully supports the position of the Round Table of Shipping Associations (BIMCO, ICS, Intercargo and Intertanko), which has together with labour body ITF (the International Transport Workers' Federation ) has just issued a call to the UN and IMO for 'urgent action'.

The KSA points out that even though coalition warships from the Combined Task Force 150 continue to maintain a presence off the coast of Somalia, 'acts of piracy and armed robbery have continued in one of the busiest shipping areas in the world, owing to its limited reinforcement. We strongly urge the international (community) and maritime nations to take tougher action such as the recent rescue operations by France, to suppress unpardonable piracy, armed robbery and other unlawful activities against ships in the Gulf of Aden,' it says.

KSA adds that a watchdog network should be established and put into operation in the North and East African region, similar to the Coastguard Network for the West and Central African sub-region recently proposed at the 13th General Assembly of Ministers of MOWCA (Maritime Organisation of West and Central Africa), in Dakar in July. [19/09/08]