The annual UK Chamber of Shipping Dinner is very much an occasion when ‘the great and good’ of the shipping industry gather.
It is a good opportunity to meet old friends and colleagues and a fine networking opportunity. This year, Sea Breezes Commercial Director, Samantha Frize attended – she reports as under:
“It was my pleasure to be in attendance at the Chamber’s Annual Dinner, as a guest of Mr Stuart Garrett of Northlink Ferries.
Guest of honour was The Duke of Cambridge, whose address was a very personal insight into the role shipping plays in the illegal transportation of ivory from both elephants and rhino.
It was of particular interest to me to hear the Duke’s passion for preserving wildlife in their natural habitat. Something also close to my heart having travelled and photographed extensively through Kenya, India and Savalbard.
The Duke began by thanking the industry for its continued support and for the role it plays in zero tolerance of the illegal shipping of animal and plant products by sea.
The scale of the problem of poaching and trafficking remain as high now as ever, in fact it is at its highest level in 25 years. On 4th July 2017, Hong Kong customs intercepted the world’s largest seizure of elephant ivory, 7.2 tonnes found in a shipment of frozen fish representing over 1,000 elephants butchered for their ivory alone. It was a sobering thought to consider the role shipping plays in the transportation of such contraband.
The point about the terrible figures are that they are a cause for alarm as the illegal trade is a transnational organised crime. Coupled with arms, drug and people trafficking. The more lucrative the product, the more attractive it is to the traffickers. On average, said The Duke, one ranger a week is killed trying to stop these poachers. It was clear he will do all in his power to redress the balance of the poacher to gamekeeper ratio.
The Duke was forthright in his conviction that we, in the shipping industry, may be a part of the problem, but we are also the solution. Transportation and logistics businesses are vulnerable to exploitation by traffickers. Pressure is on the shipping industry to transport quickly, thus enabling the exploitation for the transport system by traffickers. Containerised shipping accounts for approx ¾ of the large scale ivory seizures worldwide since 2009. Highlighting the importance of the shipping industry engagement.
Ministers gathering at the Commonwealth heads of government Summit in April 2018, will be discussing the issue from the prospective of security. The London Conference on illegal trade, attended by political leaders from around the world, will also meet in London in October 2018. We have a unique opportunity to highlight the progress made by the transportation taskforce in tackling the transportation of animals through illegal trade."