Tipping Point

Feb 26, 2011 (LBO) – The global seafarers union has warned it would advise members against sailing in the Indian Ocean to avoid Somali pirates and mocked as “ludicrous” naval action that confiscate guns and set pirates free to strike again. The Somali piracy crisis comes at a time when the global merchant marine faces an acute manpower shortage caused by difficulties in attracting seafarers to man the hundreds of new ships being deployed to cater to increasing world trade. Over 800 seafarers are being held hostage by Somali pirates, who executed two seafarers last month and the grave increase in the level of violence against ships and seafarers has reached a tipping point which calls for bold countermeasures, the ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) said.

“They now routinely use death threats, torture and brutality,” it said in a statement.

“We therefore advise seafarers and their trade unions to begin to prepare to refuse to go through the danger area, which includes the Gulf of Aden, off the Somali coast, the Arabian Sea and the wider Indian Ocean.”

The ITF warned that should sailors boycott the piracy zone it would have serious effects on world trade and oil and food prices.

The world has lost contr