October 12 - Indian naval forces must be ready to increase shipping security in the Indian Ocean as the country's geographical location means that it has been at the forefront of efforts to tackle piracy head on.
That was the message from Spyros M Polemis (pictured below), London-based International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) chairman, as the piracy season was about to begin again with renewed vigour as the monsoon season ends.
India and its seafarers have truly been in the firing line, says Polemis, as it is a major maritime labour supply country, providing thousands of Indian nationals, both officers and ratings, to crew the world fleet.
Indian seafarers are widely dispersed amongst the international fleet, including heavy lift vessels, as well as serving on board Indian-flagged tonnage, which has exposed them to the risk of attack and capture for ransom by violent Somali pirates.
"It will be most helpful if the Indian Navy can carry on ensuring that within some 300 nautical miles of the Indian coast they continue to prevent the pirates from operating, since this provides a relatively safe route for ships to and from the Gulf of Aden to the Arabian Sea and beyond," says Polemis.