— The Council of American Master Mariners, Inc. —
CAMM calls for strong action against pirates
April 9, 2009
The Council of American Master Mariners adds its voice to the growing outcry against the inaction of the US Administration and the UN against Somali pirates. National President, Captain Calvin Hunziker, urges President Obama to put an end to the piracy off the Somalia coast once and for all. Not since the days of President Thomas Jefferson has the US merchant marine faced such a threat as we’ve witnessed the past few months. This latest attack on the unarmed Maersk Alabama shows the brazenness of these pirates, as well as the resourcefulness of the American crew that retook their vessel from the pirates. To allow pirates to continue to operate unchecked undermines any semblance of free trade and free passage of merchant ships on the world’s seas. If the world’s navies can’t or won’t protect unarmed merchant ships, then it’s time to train the crews and send them to sea, ready to defend themselves, like their forefathers did up until the 20th century.
As to unarmed merchant ships, it’s a widely assumed fact that the merchant vessels of a certain Mediterranean country are armed and the crews fully trained on the use of said weapons. One doesn’t hear of their ships being attacked anywhere in the world.
There has never been a time when piracy wasn’t a danger somewhere in the world over the past two hundred years, but, until recently, the pirates would usually come aboard, rob the ship’s safe and crew of valuables, and depart. This recent trend of holding the ships and crews for ransoms of a million dollars or more has turned this new breed of pirates into a lucrative money making business. If not dealt with swiftly and harshly, who knows where the next group will spring up, hiding behind a warlord, or sham government as they are doing along the Horn of Africa.
The Council of American Master Mariners has a membership of over 1000 present and former ship’s captains and is affiliated with the International Federation of Ships Masters Association (IFSMA).