Norway Protect Filipino Seamen

The Norwegian government is planning to send anew a frigate to the Aden Bay to chase off Somalian pirates preying on ships in the area.
 
The move is estimated to cost the government between 180 to 200 million kroners.
 
“As a major maritime nation, it is important that Norway takes part and responsibility (in the protection of international waters),” Norwegian Defense Secretary Grete Faremo said to Norwegian national broadcaster NRK Thursday. 
 
“We have done it before and we will do it again,” Faremo added.
 
The decision to send the frigate stemmed from a letter that the Norwegian shipowners and Seaman’s Union urging the government to ensure the safety and lives of ships and their crew sailing Somalian waters.
 
Asked if the government felt the pressure from these groups, Faremo admitted that the government understands their plight.
 
“I have tried to assess and balance the different challenges we have and now see the possibility to go back to Aden Bay in 2012,” Faremo added.
 
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) reported a total of 37 ships hijacked in the first ten months this year, 33 ships more from last years’.
 
The Royal Norwegian Marine Frigate Fridtjof Nansen has been deployed from August 2009 until January 2010 to assist in the EU forces fighting off Somalian pirates. It was the first time that Norwegian navy had been involved in such operations.
 
In a previous interview with ABS-CBN News, Norwegian Shipping Association CEO Sturla Henriksen assured the Philippine government that it is doing all it can to ensure the safety of its Filipino crews aboard their ships.
 
Norwegian-owned ship MT Asphalt Ventura had been hijacked outside the coast of Tanzania in September.
 
Ecoterra International, an independent organization monitoring ship traffic in the area estimated that up to 23 ships and its 400 crewmembers remain in the hands of the pirates to this day.
 
There are about 32,000 Filipino seamen onboard Norwegian ships making the Filipinos the largest ethnic minority employed by Norwegian shipping companies.

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