On 5th May 2011 Gard organised its sixth annual seminar for charterers and traders at the Swissôtel Metropole in Geneva. This year's event was attended by 87 guests from all over Europe, including Switzerland, France, Italy, Belgium, United Kingdom and the Netherlands.
Clients, their brokers and other players in the trading community were there to hear about Gard's product development and current issues affecting this industry segment.
In addition to presentations by Gard staff, the seminar's key note speech was delivered by Captain Marc Nuytemans, CEO of Exmar Shipmanagement, professor and course co-ordinator at the Institute of Maritime Management in Antwerp and former CEO of the Royal Belgian Shipowners' Association.
In his speech, "Piracy: The Sopranos at Sea", Captain Nuytemans considered the piracy business model in detail and supported the view that as long as Somalia is a failed state, without sufficient economic alternatives to piracy, there is little prospect of the situation improving.
He noted the insufficiency and inefficiency of military intervention on the high seas, with no solution being found in arming vessels' crews or private security personnel.
He also addressed the sometimes tense relationship between charterers and owners in the event of a piracy incident. His conclusion was that owners, charterers and cargo interests in fact face a common piracy enemy, but that the solution probably does not lie with either of them. Instead, governments should co-operate in a massive aid programme for Somalia, in combination with increased military intervention. However, Captain Nuytemans observed that Somalia does not have natural resources of importance and therefore may not be high up on the priority list of any government, so the problem may remain unsolved for quite some time.
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