MANILA, Philippines (Xinhua) — The Philippines has called on the international community to intensify cooperation against piracy which has now extended to other shipping routes.
Philippine Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York Libran Cabactulan said the country stands ready to work with the world body and other states and partners to find ways and means to address the scourge of piracy, including its root causes, according to the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs today.
“The number of piracy incidents, if not restrained, is projected to grow. Piracy is no longer confined to the Gulf of Aden but has extended to the wider Indian Ocean. Buoyed by their initial successes and impunity from prosecution, the Somali pirates have converted their crude activities into a highly lucrative industry,” Cabactulan said.
There are 63 Filipino seafarers on board four vessels being held captive by Somali pirates.
He added that the Philippines has reinforced its safety precaution measures and crisis management training for Filipino seafarers on board vessels transiting the Gulf of Aden.
The Philippines is the world’s leading supplier of ship crew with over 350,000 sailors, or about a fifth of the world’s seafarers, manning oil tankers, luxury liners, and passenger vessels worldwide, exposing them to piracy attacks.
As a policy, the Philippine government does not negotiate nor pay ransom to kidnappers, but gives ship owners the free hand in negotiating for the release of abducted Filipino sailors.