Workable Solution for Safe Release of Hijacked Ships Crew

by OldSailor on November 10, 2008



For my post “More Indian Response Needed on Hijacking of MT Stolt Valor” on September 24, J.Kripasagar has given two workable solutions in his comments. His comments are given below:

Thanks for the update. The situation is highly pathetic. The Indian government should step in with more authority, The pirates wants ransom which the owners were not willing to pay. Under these circumstances the Indian government should intervene, pay the ransom and get its citizens released and it can keep the vessel in its possession till the issue relating to the ransom money is solved. In Kandhahar hijacking Indian govt., released a terrorist and secured the release of passengers. why not pay ransom for its citizens when nothing else seem to work. The IMO which has so many guidelines for merchant shipping for safety and security should actively involve in the issue and secure the release of the seafarers. Why not the IMO pool in a common fund from all the member countries to meet the payment of ransom, the IMO should help the seafarers and ensure safe navigation to avoid such hijacking incidents in future. I appreciate the courage with which mrs. Seema Goyal is handling the issue. All seafarers in India even if unitedly march to Delhi can do nothing, but the government of India can help if it decides to act firmly instead of wait and watch ideology.

The Problem:problem

Though warships from many countries in Gulf of Aden are trying their best to minimize the hijacking of merchant ships, these warships can not safely release the ships crew from the ships already hijacked. Though the ship owners negotiate with the pirates to pay ransom and secure the release of ship and ships crew, the whole process takes minimum one month to six months or even more to settle. During this period of captivity, the seafarers and their families are subjected to extreme stress and their survival remains doubtful. In fact MV Faina was hijacked on September 25 and the Russian captain of MV Faina Vladimir Kolobkov, died on September 28 due to hypertension in the hands of pirates.

The Solution:

To safely release the hijacked ships crew from the pirates:target

  • When the ship owners take lot of time or fail to release the ships crew, the countries are responsible to safely release their seafarers. If required the country has to pay the ransom and arrange the release of the ships crew and the ship. The country can take possession of the ship and hand over the ship to ship owner after getting back the ransom paid to pirates.
  • IMO has to set up a fund by collecting money from the member countries to meet such contingencies. The contribution amount can be decided by considering the number of seafarers, the number of ships of that country.
  • If not by IMO directly, a fund similar to “The International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds (IOPC Funds)” can be set up.

The option to consider the above solutions is left to IMO, Shipping industry and the countries affected by sea piracy. We all know that if an aircraft is hijacked the response from the country is different as hijacking of a ship is different from hijacking of an aircraft.

Thanks J.Kripasagar.

Posts in MarineBuzz on this day a year before:

San Francisco Bay Oil Spill Response, Some Facts that Can Not Be Ignored

Coastal Pollution of China Needs Immediate Corrective Actions

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