War on Indian Ocean piracy cost Sh140 billion last year

About $1.4 billion (Sh140 billion) was spent on the war on piracy in the Western Indian Ocean bloc last year, a team formed to find ways of fighting the menace says. The Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) said the figures were the latest from Oceans Beyond Piracy (OBP), a programme of the One Earth Future Foundation. The
foundation is a privately funded non-profit organisation based in Colorado, USA. The cost includes money paid by shipping
operators for increased insurance due to piracy, labour, armed guards and other protection measures, ransom paid by
insurers and the cost of naval deployments. More than 200 participants from 50 countries and organisations met in
Nairobi mid last month to discuss a global approach to combat maritime piracy. The forum was organised by the Indian
Ocean Commission (IOC), CGPCS, the Kenyan government and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
(UNODC).Participants reiterated the commitment of the region and the international community to fight piracy and its root
causes. The economic cost of piracy caused by groups in Somalia increased to $1.7 billion (Sh170 billion) in 2016, from $1.3 billion (Sh130 billion) in 2015. The cost had been trending downwards from $7 billion (Sh700 billion) in 2010 due to
counter-piracy measures. The 21st plenary session of the CGPCS chaired by Mauritius Foreign Affairs minister and IOC
chair Vishnu Lutchmeenaraidoo was an opportunity to assess the status of maritime piracy in the Western Indian Ocean.
Representatives of EU NAVFOR Somalia and Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) identified rare cases of piracy since the
resurgence of attacks at the beginning of 2017 — namely two attacks in November 2017; the alleged perpetrators are
awaiting trial in the Seychelles — and one attack at the beginning of this year. “We must not ease our efforts,” stressed
Lucthmeenaraidoo. Members of the Contact Group and the EU vouched for the extension of the mandate of the EU
NAVFOR mission until December 2020. EU NAVFOR Somalia, also known as Operation Atalanta, is a counter-piracy
military operation at sea off the Horn of Africa. Furthermore, participants stressed the importance of stopping the threat
of piracy. The mission will also be given a broader mandate to cover all crimes and threats directly related to piracy.
Kenya’s Defence secretary Raychelle Omamo urged for heightened war on terrorism and piracy saying they were
connected. “We must fight these ills — piracy and terrorism — in tandem because in many ways terrorism extends into
the waters through piracy and piracy extends to land through terrorism,” she said. Mr Lutchmeenaraidoo added: “We
cannot fight effectively nor permanently remove piracy if we do not tackle all the crimes and threats that feed on or are
fuelled by piracy. “That is why I suggested that we start thinking about the possible extension of the mandate of the
Contact Group and that the outcomes be submitted to the next plenary session for debate.” “Members of CGPCS have
confirmed the usefulness of this forum which allows the exchange of on-going initiatives and offers a comprehensive
outlook on the activities of the fight against piracy,” a statement from CGPCS said. It noted that maritime security is
emerging as a key issue of development in eastern and southern Africa Foreign Affairs secretary Monica Juma said
maritime security is key to the growth of the blue economy. “It is becoming a very important foundation for strategies to
create the blue economy as a new pillar of prosperity for coastal communities and for improving their livelihoods,” said Ms
Juma. IOC secretary-general Hamada Madi added: “The potential of the blue economy for growth and social progress will
emerge only if we are able to collectively provide safety at sea with the support of our partners in the international
community. “The CGPCS is thus an expression of a common goal to cooperate not only for regional stability crucial for
development in eastern and southern Africa, but also for the security of sea routes in the Indian Ocean among the most
important for international trade.” The next plenary session of CGPCS will be held in 2019. Source: businessdailyafrica




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