Jacob Bliksted Sorensen will, this week, launch the world’s first attempt to kite-surf over 1,000 km up the East African coast to raise awareness about the root causes of piracy. Mission Safe Oceans will launch from Pemba in Mozambique and aims to contribute to a safer ocean for the benefit of East Africans, visitors and seafarers.
Every year, piracy at sea poses a threat to the lives of men and women working in the maritime industry, and poses a threat to the global economy because over 80 per cent of global trade is carried out by maritime transportation. Although hijackings off the coast of Somalia have declined in recent years, it’s estimated that piracy in the Horn of Africa still costs the global economy an estimated $18 billion per year.
Sorensen’s mission will raise funds for two non-profit organizations – Mission to Seafarers and Adeso – that seek to address the root causes of piracy. The General Manager at Hong Kong-based company, Pacific Basin, with his team, will make his way from Mozambique to Tanzania, Kenya and Somalia using a surfboard and a kite to harness the power of the wind. The mission will take up to 30 days to complete.
Sorensen points to his passion for shipping, a safe ocean and kitesurfing as the driving force behind this fundraising adventure. He hopes to draw attention to a problem that continues to not only affect trade, shipping and the lives of seafarers around the world, but also the people of East Africa.
“Through my work I am exposed to the security challenges on the coasts of East Africa and the Indian Ocean and I want to use my strengths, abilities and my network in the shipping industry to make a positive difference,” explains Sorensen.
“The ocean provides a livelihood to 1.5 million seafarers and they deserve a safe work place. Using Mission Safe Ocean as a platform to support the charities is a tribute to the thousands of seafarers who put their lives at risk passing through dangerous areas carrying goods that we all depend on.”
Degan Ali, the Executive Director of African NGO Adeso, explained why Adeso decided to work with Sorensen on this mission. “Many young men in Somalia have been drawn to crime and extremism as a result of a lack of opportunities in their country, including in the fisheries sector."
"With the funds raised, we are aiming to tackle the root causes of poverty though community‐level programs that will restore the marine and coastal resources on which Somalis rely, improve food security, livelihoods, and governance, while reducing the appeal of piracy and extremism.”