Comments in yesterday's Dagens Næringsliv by the patriarch of a shipping empire led Stolt-Nielsen Limited (Oslo Børs: SNI) to issue a stock exchange announcement to emphasize that "the comments contained within the article are Mr.Jacob Stolt-Nielsen's own personal opinion."
What did Mr. Stolt Nielsen say?
According to a report by Views and News from Norway, he wrote in DN that pirates caught in international waters "always have been punished with death, most often executed on the spot." He thinks the practice should be taken up again.
"Perhaps I was a bit tough in the commentary, but I'm just telling it like it is," Stolt-Nielsen told DN. "The way to solve the pirate problem is to sink the pirates and their ships."
"The only way to fight piracy is to hang the pirates," he said. "The only language they understand is force."
In its stock exchange announcement Stolt Nielsen Ltd. said that it "will first and foremost do what it takes to protect our crews and, in so doing, our ships and the cargoes of our customers.
"SNL supports outside government intervention to stabilize Somalia, as shipping industry organizations have been urging for some time. Anarchy on land enables anarchy at sea. It is unrealistic to expect an end to piracy without establishing some form of government order in Somalia. Furthermore, the company fully supports industry calls on governments for more - and broader - naval protection. The piracy situation is not improving, it is escalating. Governments collectively need to step up to the challenge by taking action now and not wait and hope that the problem will disappear.
"In view of the current crisis in the Indian Ocean with over 700 seafarers being held hostage and most recently a seafarer being executed, ship operators must be able to retain all possible options available to deter attacks and defend their crews against piracy. When the company has no alternative it will continue the use of armed guards, which has proved to be effective as a deterrent.
"It should be stressed that the Risk Assessment and Mitigation Measures deployed by SNL have been shared fully with flags, insurers and major customers - and that we are in full compliance with all of their requirements."