The message was spelt out “in no uncertain terms” by a delegation of Greek owners who visited Washington this month, meeting rule makers and officials including US Secretary of Transportation Ray La Hood.
“They understand the implications if the transport chain is disrupted, which obviously it may be if seafarers are not willing to go into the Indian Ocean, for example,” said a source close to the trip, which took place under the auspices of the Union of Greek Shipowners.
One owner said: “There is a tendency in the US to think that piracy in the Indian Ocean has very little to do with them. But they understand the implications for trade and we also pointed out the mounting cost of piracy to the American consumer.”
A report in IFW’s sister publication, Lloyd’s List, said Greek-controlled shipping was estimated to carry about 20% of US imports and exports, a share partly reflecting the fact that Greek owners on average operate larger ships than many other nationalities.
The Union of Greek Shipowners has called for “self-protection of seafarers and ships by using private armed guards on board”.