Thursday, April 21, 2011

Another pirate attack on a South Korean vessel?

Hanjin Shipping is reporting that a container ship holding 6500 of them nifty metal storage units was attacked by Somali pirates as it journeyed from Europe to Singapore. They're not yet sure what's going on with the vessel or the crew:
The Hanjin Tianjin, which can carry 6,500 20-foot containers, was attacked 250 miles (402 kilometers) east of the Yemeni island of Socotra around 5:15 a.m. today Korea time, the Seoul-based company said in an e-mailed statement. There are 20 crewmembers on board the ship, it said.

The shipping line is still working to determine the fate of the vessel, which was heading to Singapore from Europe, it said. The company dropped as much as 3.9 percent to 29,350 won and traded at 29,850 won as of 10:18 a.m. in Seoul trading, while the benchmark Kospi index rose 0.8 percent.

An increase in Somali pirate attacks, spurred by a 36-fold jump in ransoms in five years, has threatened vessels carrying 20 percent of world trade and raised expenses for shippers. Costs linked to piracy may reach $13 billion to $15 billion by 2015 as global trade rebounds and pirates operate over wider areas, according to consultants Geopolicity Inc.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: South Korea (and Japan) can really boost its role as a full-fledged partner with the US (and its other allies) by upping even further the amount of resources it expends on its anti-piracy efforts. When a major chaebol like Hanjin can drop by nearly four percent over something like this, it's definitely in the national interest.

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