An European Union meeting in Brussels on 24 January heard from a wide range of different participants that piracy affects not only seafarers but also ordinary citizens and the world economy. The meeting of the EU European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) discussed a new report that called on the EU to adopt a more comprehensive and co-ordinated approach to combat maritime piracy.
"Piracy is not only a maritime problem. It is also a humanitarian, trade, and global one, affecting world consumers and tax payers", said Dr Anna Brediman from the EESC.
The meeting was addressed by representatives from shipowners, unions, governments, the military and NGO's.
In 2012 six seaman were murdered and 448 held hostages by pirates around the world. The meeting heard a moving account from Peter Swift from the MPHRP of the plight of the Iceberg 1 seafarers who were recently released after being held for nearly 3 years. Peter described how the crew were tortured and subject to mock executions. One seafarer committed suicide while another has gone missing.
It was reported that more needed to be done by mobilising European civil society and public opinion to pressurise policy makers into action.
The report on the EESC's anti-piracy strategy can be downloaded from here.