At least 40,000 Filipino seafarers stand to benefit from a new Japanese anti-piracy law protecting ships and its crew off Somalia, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said Saturday.
The DOLE said this new law dovetails with the wider efforts of the United Nations (UN) to ensure safe passage in maritime trading areas.
"(The Japanese anti-piracy law), while aimed at protecting Japan-flagged vessels, would reinforce the safety and well-being of the more than 40,000 overseas Filipino seafarers currently manning the majority of Japan’s global merchant marine fleet," the DOLE said.
Before the law was passed, DOLE Secretary Marianito Roque visited Tokyo earlier this year to represent the Philippines at the Philippine-Japan Seafarer Policy Forum.
He pushed for the preservation of the jobs of the numerous overseas Filipino seafarers employed in Japanese vessels.
The Philippines supplies a third of the world's seafarers and has been tagged as one of the most vulnerable nationalities to pirate attacks.
Accompanying him in the forum were partners from the Associated Marine Officers’ and Seamen’s Union of the Philippines (AMOSUP), and the Philippine-Japan Consultative Council.
The new law will allow Japan to “discharge its responsibility as a member of the international community," by actively contributing to the global efforts against piracy.
Japan reaffirmed the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which provides that all states shall cooperate to the fullest possible extent in the repression of piracy on the high seas or in any other place outside the jurisdiction of any State.
Forged in 1982, the Law of the Sea defined piracy as illegal acts committed on the high seas for private ends, adding all countries have a right to seize and prosecute those committing such acts.
Japan had contributed proactively to the anti-piracy efforts in tandem with the protecting naval vessels of the United States (US), European countries, China, and other states patrolling the waters off Somalia.
Its measures included the dispatch of two destroyers from the Japan Coast Guard and the Maritime Self Defense Forces for the conduct of maritime police operations in the Gulf of Aden.
Specifically, the vessels had already escorted some 87 Japan-flagged vessels in 28 operations since early 2009. - GMANews.TV