इंडियन आवाज़     02 Oct 2023 09:27:53      انڈین آواز

Ex-navy personnel to guard merchant ships

According to International Maritime Bureau there were 219 attacks in 2010 in which 49 vessels were hijacked and 1,016 crew members taken hostage. Till May 23 this year there has been 24 hijackings worldwide. Of this 21 hijackings are by Somalian pirates who have held 26 vessels and 522 persons as hostage.

Of this about 42 Indians from six ships are currently held as hostage in Somalia as pirates.

Last year the One Earth Foundation estimated the economic cost of piracy on the supply chain to be between US$7 and US$12 billion.

Union Shipping Ministry, Defence Ministry and Home ministry are examining various issues involved providing armed guards in the Indians ships.

For instance three ministries are examining how to employ ex-naval personnel who are given clearance security agencies. .

A detail of weaponry, procedure manual for dealing with such ships when they visit foreign ports is being framed by Union Defence and Home Ministry.

Already the International Martime Organisation, of which India is a member, has set out broad guidelines in this regard.

However several countries like Japan and South Africa are vocally against use of armed guards in merchant ships as it might promote conflict in the sea.

It is estimated that of the 300 ships held by Indian companies, security personnel would be used in odd 100 ships which are traveling to Gulf of Eden, Suez Canal and North Africa.

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