20.11.2007

Somali Piracy

We strongly support the UN security council move to address incidences of Piracy and armed robbery that have plagued ocean-going vessels sailing off the Coast of Somalia.

However, we call upon all fishing vessels to keep away from Somali territorial waters for apart from being in danger, their presence in Somalia is illegal and contrary to the UN Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)

It was a great joy to see the Taiwanese fishing vessel Cheng Fong Hwa 168 calling Mombasa Port last Wednesday after spending more than six (6) months in captivity in Somalia.

The ill-fated vessel and her 16 crew members comprised of 2 Taiwanese, 2 Filipinos and 12 Chinese were hijacked by Somali gunmen on the 18th April 2007 while on illegal fishing campaign in Somali fishing grounds.

They were released on November 4th after the Taiwanese ship-owners paid ransom money amounting to US$ 200,000 to secure the release of the vessel and her crew.

Narrating their 6 months ordeal in the hands of their captors, the crew revealed that the pirates injured one of the crew by shooting the crew member on his back a few days before brutally killing one Chinese crew.

The deceased was tortured infront of his crew mates before he was shot dead on 25th May.

A few days before the ship was released, the pirates took away personal belongings of the crew worthy about US$ 10,000.00

As fishing in Somali waters is illegal we beg to advice all foreign fishing vessels to stay away from Somali waters.

And as illegal fishing vessels are using Mombasa Port as their port of convenience, we call upon the Kenya Maritime Authority to re-activate Port state control on fishing vessels in accordance with the International Plan of Action (IPOA) against illegal fishing.

The IPOA calls for landing of illegal caught fish to be prohibited by all States and access to Port or to Port facilities denied for illegal fishing vessels.The IPOA further calls for detention and arrest for illegal fishing vessels should they enter sea ports.

I will keep you posted.

Andrew Mwangura
Seafarers' Assistance Program


Andrew Mwangura
P.O. Box 92273
Mombasa,80102 Kenya.

Cell:00254 721 393458
Fax: 00254 41 230001
E Fax: 18014093908

 

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