Somali pirates forcing ships to make detour

In an earlier article today I quoted several sources saying that shipping companies are now seriously considering avoiding the Suez Canal and take the long route around Africa instead. One Norwegian shipping company, Odfjell, has already started sending their tankers on the long route, as reported by the Norwegian newspapers VG and Dagbladet. How long until others will follow? That’ll be interesting too see…

Odfjell press release

Odfjell SE has decided that all its owned, managed and time chartered ships that normally would sail through the Gulf of Aden will be routed via the Cape of Good Hope. – We will no longer expose our crew to the risk of being hijacked and held for ransom by pirates in the Gulf of Aden, says Terje Storeng, President/CEO of Odfjell SE.

Unless we are explicitly committed by existing contracts to sail through this area, as from today we will re-route our ships around Cape of Good Hope. We trust our customers will appreciate this decision which we have taken to safeguard not only our crews and ships, but also the ships’ cargo. The re-routing will entail extra sailing days and later cargo deliveries. This will incur significant extra cost, but we expect our customers’ support and contribution, says Storeng.

Several chemical tankers have been hijacked at gunpoint, and although hostages up to now reportedly have been released seemingly unharmed, we do not know if this will be so in the future. Odfjell is frustrated by the fact that governments and authorities in general seem to take a limited interest in this very serious problem. The efforts that are being made do not seem to put an effective end to what can best be described as ruthless, high level organised crime, continues Storeng.

When sufficient protection is in place or action taken to prevent attacks from pirates in this area, Odfjell SE will resume sailing through the Gulf of Aden and the Suez Canal.

When will other companies follow suit?

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