Seemannsmission international - ISWAN
Piracy still an issue - a briefing with Chirag Bahri
ISWAN were proud to host Chirag Bahri at a briefing on piracy on 7th April. Chirag Bahri has worked as the Regional Director for MPHRP's piracy response in South Asia for four years. MPHRP recently became part of ISWAN, and the ISWAN team also answered questions about ISWAN's work supporting seafarers and on the state of piracy today.
Piracy is a complex issue with a major impact on seafarers worldwide. In South Asia the MPHRP team have extra challenges. Although some ship owners and management are supportive, for other seafarers the work of Chirag's team is the only support they receive. Ships have been abandoned by owners when captured in Somalia, and there is not always useful support from the ship management during or after captivity. During a hostage situation, the piracy response team will get in touch with ship management and encourage them to stay in regular and frequent contact with families affected "day by day, minute by minute" says Chirag. "We'll help them sort out gas and electric bills and get access to accounts whilst the seafarer is held captive. We help them retain normal living conditions." When seafarers return from a hostage situation, or from any incident of piracy, counselling and ongoing support is provided. Their lives need "restructuring...they need support from families, friends, society, shipping companies. Sometimes their passports have been taken so we help them get new documents." Working closely with the Ministry of Shipping in India, Chirag works to get documents replaced in a relatively short time. He helps the seafarers move forwards, finding them jobs with shipping companies and getting them back to sea.