Stepping up the fight against piracy
With Danish leadership, the EU Piracy Task Force advocates a united, holistic approach to protect shipping.
The EU Piracy Task Force, which was established in 2011, is comprised of shipowner representatives from nations throughout Europe who meet regularly and then try to influence anti-piracy policy through three main EU institutions: the Foreign Service, the Transport Directorate, and EU NAVFOR (the EU Naval Force).
Jan Fritz Hansen, deputy director general of the Danish Shipowners’ Association, is serving as the Task Force’s chairman. He takes a philosophical view of his appointment.
“After 30 years of working with my colleagues in Brussels, this is the first time they have asked me to be chairman of anything,” he says. “I suspect they were strongly influenced by my familiarity with the anti-piracy strategy drawn up by the Danish government – which is fair enough as the Danish policy does make an excellent template for planning on the EU level.”
Showing the way
Denmark is a maritime nation, responsible for around ten per cent of the world’s sea trade, and a small nation whose vessels are heavily represented in the danger area around the Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Somalia.
“This is a main route for trade between the Far East and Europe,” says Jan Fritz Hansen, “and Danish ships have a major presence there – on any given day there can be up to 100 Danish controlled vessels in the area.”
He points out that the Danish Shipowners’ Association has been urging caution in this part of the world since 2005, and especially after the hijacking of a Danish vessel in the summer of 2007 that brought the problem of piracy to the attention of the Danish government and led to Danish naval engagement and the formulation of a strategy to combat piracy.
“Because of this strategy and our experience, Denmark has very much been the driver in getting this EU task force together,” says Jan Fritz Hansen. “Other members realised that we had a good awareness of the challenge and an established plan, but we needed partners and allies to fully carry it out.”