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Saturday, 13 November 2010

Somali piracy now all over the Arabian Sea.

And here is where Al jazeera television gives us seafarers a different camera eye's view on the issue of piracy in the Arabian Sea.

The latest attacks, 300-400 miles west of Mangalore and Mumbai, reportedly by speedboats launched from mother ship / deep sea trawlers, makes this appear as more than just some bad dream that will go away.

The bigger issues here are:-

# psychological impact of ship's complement, especially the Master, when heading through the Arabian Sea. Imagine a voyage from, say, West Coast of India to literally anywhere in the world. Are we even aware of what the Master has to answer from crew, onboard ships with nothing more than fire-hose and SSO certificates, when we also know that other ships in the area are carrying armed guards?

# will the crew/officers get their wages when captured is another issue which the Master and company do not have an answer for. A quick poll indicated that people expect atleast triple wages while captured, and some heavy insurance in case of any damage caused during the capture.

One way out would be for the authorities, DGShipping, to ensure that all ships carrying Indian seafarers should:-

* provide insurance equal to total salary paid out monthly to their families while under capture by taking out policies equal to 24 months, and then pay the hardship allowance at twice that again when released.
*provide death/disability insurance equal to atleast 120 months total salary for all seafarers trading Arabian Sea.

This would obviously be in addition to the normal insurance and other benefits in case of any incidents.

I have met some people who have been released after hijacking, or after they were jailed abroad, and most of them have had their spirits broken.

Your views, please? Why should being captured by pirates be treated as anything lesser than a major disability, while on active duty??

Do you know that some seafarers have had to beg for their wages, and what their families are going through while the breadwinners are captured??

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