MPs take note of threat to UK shipping and seafarers in West Africa

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This week the UK Chamber held a briefing session, hosted by Stephen Metcalfe MP, in the House of Commons on piracy, West Africa and the new threats to UK shipping and seafarers. The session brought together industry leaders, politicians, and interested parties to discuss the continued threats off the coast of Somalia, and the alarming increase in maritime crime in West Africa.

UK Chamber Director-General Mark Brownrigg was joined by Dr Grahaeme Henderson, Vice President of Maritime and Shipping at Shell, who provided extremely useful and informed insights into this emerging problem.

Stephen Metcalfe has followed the session by writing exclusively for Maritime UK on the subject.

In his article, Mr Metcalfe acknowledges the need to fight complacency in the Indian Ocean where, just a few weeks ago, an EU NAVFOR vessel rescued a hijacked vessel, ensuring the safety of both vessel and crew.

He goes on to focus on the “new piratical centre” emerging in West Africa, and calls for wider concern in parliament:

“Piracy in West Africa, and particularly the Gulf of Guinea, is of increasing concern to the seafaring community and industry and as such, it should be of increasing concern to Parliamentarians and Government.”

Mr Metcalfe cites the facts that 95% of our traded goods are transported by sea and approximately 40% of all oil consumed in Europe is transported through the Gulf of Guinea, as reasons this area needs more focus.

Potential measures that arose in the briefing session are discussed in the article, including information sharing and capacity building ashore. Mr Metcalfe concludes:

“I hope that the recent Parliamentary event will be the first of many, providing a stepping stone for future discussions which can facilitate the creation of an environment in which our shipping industry, and our seafarers can operate free of the fear of piracy.”

The full article can be read on the Maritime UK website. It is the latest in a series of guest posts written for Maritime UK by political figures.