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Sea piracy still a problem on West Africa Coast: Mission to Seafarers Africa Head says

By Philip Mwakio | January 30th 2019

Sea piracy is still a major challenge in waters off the West African Coast, a regional meeting of Missions to Seafarers currently underway in Mombasa has heard.

Speaking at the Missions to Seafarers Centre, Mombasa, the Missions to Seafarers Africa Director, Rev Cedric Rautenbach said that while the intervention and continued patrol of the Indian Ocean waters around the Somali Coast by an international flotilla of Navies has helped contain piracy in this part, West African Coast continues to face challenges from the vice.

''Africa remains a key trading bloc .However, since much of the trade is with the outside world, sea voyages still maintain the link on enhancing trade and commerce. But cases of piracy where ship crew are held hostage for ransom or even killed have continued to be a big detterrent especially in West African region,'' Rev Rautenbach said.

He said that barely a day passes without reports of sailors in distress as a result of pirate attack around waters of the Atlantic Ocean in West African Coast.

Rev Rautenbach spoke on the side-lines of the first ever Mission to Seafarers chaplains meeting for Africa region that has been held outside South Africa.

''We are gathered here in this beautiful Port city of Mombasa to lay strategies on how we can work for the better welfare of the global seafarer who transits the Africa waters and at the sametime come up with a new constitution to chart the way way for the Mission,'' Rev Rautenbach who was accompanied by Missions to Seafarers Mombasa chaplain Rev Moses Muli said.

Other chaplains attending the Mombasa meeting which ends today are from South Africa, Tanzania, Namibia, Nigeria and a representative from the Mission to Seafarers headquarters in London.

Missions to Seafarers through its global network of chaplains, staff, and volunteers offer practical, emotional and spiritual support to seafarers through ship visits.

The Missions to Seafarers Mombasa Centre was opened in 1921 and will be celebrating 100 years of existence in 2021.

Rev Rautenbach said that apart from threats of piracy, shipwreck, abandonment and separation from loved ones are just a few of the problems merchant seafarers face.

Around the world, The Mission to Seafarers provides help and support to the 1.5 million men and women who face danger every day to keep our global economy afloat.

''We work in over 200 ports in 50 countries caring for seafarers of all ranks, nationalities and beliefs. Through our global network of chaplains, staff and volunteers we offer practical, emotional and spiritual support to seafarers through ship visits, drop-in seafarers' centres and a range of welfare and emergency support services,'' he said.

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