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Demand for more security off West Africa

Demand for more security off West Africa

11-03-2013 17:00:00

Danish Shipowners' Association is now pushing to increase the security of Danish merchant ships in the waters off West Africa. The Shipowners' Association are amongst others in contact with France, who as a former colonial power already are patrolling with warships in the area.

Deputy at the Danish Shipowners' Association Jan Fritz Hansen will soon be travelling soon to Paris to discuss the situation with the French authorities. Also the Danish Foreign Ministry and the EU are involved in efforts to improve safety.

"As an industry, we have through a multi-faceted effort stabilized the situation in East Africa. We now want to clarify to, among others, the French authorities that we are ready to make an effort on the other side of the continent to prevent and combat piracy”, says Jan Fritz Hansen, who besides being vice president of the Danish Shipowners' Association is chairman of the EU's pirate committee.

As a result of the increased pirate activity in the area, including three attacks within eight days in February, the authorities have in particular increased patrols at sea near Nigeria. Nevertheless the situation is still characterized by uncertainty and the Shipowners' Association has asked Foreign Minister Villy Søvndal to put pressure on countries in the region to increase their efforts further.

Armed guards on board merchant ships have proved highly effective against pirates off East Africa, where the number of attacks has fallen. The regional law in West Africa allows only very limited use of private armed guards on board.

Shipowners' Association hope that this can be changed with support from the European Commission with help from the international ISO standards, which cerify the use of armed guards.

Source: Danish Shipowners’ Association

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