Global maritime charity Stella Maris has signed up to the Gulf of Guinea Declaration on the Suppression of Piracy, demonstrating the organisation’s commitment to eradicating the scourge of piracy.
Stella Maris International Network Director Fr Bruno Ciceri, who is based in the Vatican, signed the Declaration on behalf of the charity.
“We fully support the shipping industry and maritime community in the fight against piracy. It is unacceptable that seafarers, unsung heroes who keep world trade moving, continue to be subjected to pirate attacks. Aside from disrupting the global economy, the persistent threat of danger and harm puts considerable stress on seafarers and their families,” said Fr Bruno.
The Gulf of Guinea accounted for nearly half (43 percent) of all reported piracy incidents in the first three months of 2021, according to the ICC International Maritime Bureau. The region accounted for all 40 kidnapped crew incidents, as well as the sole crew fatality.
In 2020, Stella Maris chaplains supported seafarers in three piracy cases, providing vital pastoral care to the crew members affected by the attacks.
In one case in Lagos, Nigeria, the charity’s chaplains boarded a ship following an attack at sea to meet with the crew members.
The crew had been left extremely traumatised, and the support provided by Stella Maris helped allay their fears and anxieties.
Stella Maris hopes governments and law enforcement agencies will be able to find a more permanent and long-term solution to the problem of piracy and bring the perpetrators to justice.
“We urge kidnapped seafarers not to lose hope that they will be soon reunited with their loved ones. Families of the hijacked seafarers can also contact us for assistance and support,” said Fr Bruno.