Pirates: Beware of Containerships

The life and times of pirates have been glorified on the silver screen ever since movies became a popular diversion for people’s entertainment dollars. Their lives have been romanticized over and re-enacted by children in backyards with sticks and toy guns. The latest Johnny Depp Movie has grossed over USD 1 billion worldwide, making this saga one of the cinema’s most popular franchises of all time. But that’s where the suave and glamour end.


The Costs

Pirates on the seas, do nothing but drive up the costs of goods and services, cost innocent people their lives, and at the least separate the captive for months of not years from their family members and loved ones.

China Ocean Shipping (Group) Co. also known as Cosco is one of the companies that are fed up with the actions off the coast of Somalia and are taking actions into their own hands. They are prepared to spend USD 12 million to arm their ships with guards and other anti-piracy deterrents to protect them and the crew against the threat of piracy in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean.

Cosco, which owns around 80 ships – 20 registered in Hong Kong and 60 on the mainland and elsewhere – said the budget included the cost of bullet-proof vests for all crew and on-board equipment to both deter attacks and prevent pirates from taking control of vessels if they do board.

Guo Jin, Cosco Shipping’s chief operating officer, said if the company’s ships are unable to take alternative routes, such as via the Cape of Good Hope, and had to travel through high-risk areas, “then we will take some measures to defend ourselves. Our ships are relatively small, they are not so fast – about 15 knots – so we have to employ armed security.”

Pacific Basin Shipping, Wah Kwong Maritime Transport and Valles Steamship are among others of the leading Hong Kong owners that have expressed the view that armed guards have and would be used on board when called to action.

Chief operating officer, Jan Rindbo, of Pacific Basin Shipping, said there are “relatively few times every year” that the company’s ships pass through high-risk pirated waters in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden. However, “The cost of these anti-piracy measures can amount to over $200,000 per transit, but this is largely factored into the freight rate and thus passed on to the charterers,” said Rindbo.

“While placing armed guards on board is not a solution to the piracy problem in itself, they have proved invaluable as a further deterrent and are part of our plan to make our ships less attractive to attackers. Increasingly, charterers are willing to bear the cost of these security measures and so ultimately this is going to be passed on to the consumer.”

Tim Huxley who is the chief executive of tanker and bulk carrier operator Wah Kwong Maritime Transport Holdings, has said the company has and will use armed guards when necessary.

Results are Needed

David Koo, head of tanker owner Valles Steamship, had been opposed to the use of armed guards because he thought it would escalate violence and that piracy needed a government solution.

But Koo, a former chairman of the Hong Kong Shipowners’ Association, said the industry had changed its view and was leaving it up to individual shipowners to decide whether to use armed guards. He said the use of armed security personnel “gave peace of mind for the crew”.

Your Containers

It’s about time that shipping companies took action. Governments are sitting on their bums when it comes to preventative action against these hooligans and if these are the precautionary measures that are needed, then so be it. The day of the swashbuckling pirates searching the seas for buried treasure and infinite life through fairy tales of mermaids and sea dragons are far gone.

At Pacific Tycoon, your container ownership is sealed and protected as each container is insured against damage, theft, or loss at sea. This insurance guarantees that your container is safe and sound no matter what happens to it. There are very few other vehicles you can put your money into that get a guaranteed rate of return and principle yet you still get to brag to your friends and family that it survived an attack by pirates.

Asia is where the money is flowing. From port to port and city to city across the developing region, Pacific Tycoon is here to make sure your containers are  protected, earning you top dollar ,and paying you monthly for the hard-work that put the two of you together in the first place.

Image: WaltDisney
Source: CargoNewsAsia


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Gain unearned income. Own shipping containers and lease them to us. We contract with companies who need to ship materials.

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