Two press releases popped up yesterday in our Inbox which touch on Somali piracy. One is from the SaveOurSeafarers (SOS) group, which has received a fillip from the Philippine and British governments’ reiteration of support for their anti-piracy campaign. The other is from the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) – about the new regulations on ship’s emissions and the piracy problem, two topics high on the agenda of the 13th September ICS Board meeting. Nothing exciting in either news bulletin, yet both serve to remind us of the importance of speaking plainly and earnestly.

We’re tired of hearing platitudes, slogans and motherhood statements whenever the subject of Somali piracy is brought up. Alas, we got another dose from the SOS press release. After reporting that the Philippines’ Labour and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz has lauded the SOS campaign for its “unrelenting” efforts to raise public awareness on the deleterious effects of piracy, particularly in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean, the press release quotes the lady as saying: “We are always mindful of the policy of the administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III for enhanced overseas foreign workers protection. Foremost of this is to push for (the) global call to stamp out piracy in the high seas, which is now affecting global maritime commerce.”

In contrast, ICS Chairman Spyros Polemis does away with verbal clutter and goes straight to the matter. He is quoted in the ICS press release as saying: “The truth about governments’ failure, and the terrible suffering endured by captured seafarers, might be unpalatable to many politicians. But our expectation is that the frequency of attacks against shipping will escalate again dramatically, once the monsoon season is over. The current military response – with only a handful of navy ships available to provide protection on any given day – has just been a sticking plaster on a gaping wound. We have still not yet seen the political will from governments needed to develop a comprehensive military strategy that will have a decisive impact.”

Some may argue that it’s all a matter of style. Maybe so, but we prefer straight talk to rhetoric in regard to Somali piracy. And the less talk, the better. The problem has been festering for too long. ~Barista Uno

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