Friday, January 17, 2014

Piracy at sea at its lowest level


The International Maritime Bureau has issued its latest figure on piracy at sea and it says that there have been 264 attacks, recorded world-wide. It is almost a 40% drop in piracy since it reached its peak in 2011.

“The single biggest reason for the drop in worldwide piracy is the decrease in Somali piracy off the coast of East Africa,” said IMB Director Captain Pottengal Mukundan.
He attributed the fall in piracy to various factors like the efforts of the international navies, deployment of private armed security guards, and also the stabilizing influence of Somalia’s central government. He also cautioned against any complacency: “It is imperative to continue combined international efforts to tackle Somali piracy. Any complacency at this stage could re-kindle pirate activity.”

IMB piracy report pointed out that more than 300 people were taken hostage at sea last year and from among them, 21 were injured almost all with guns and knives.

A total of 12 vessels were hijacked, 202 were boarded, 22 were fired upon and a further 28 reported attempted attacks. Nigerian pirates were particularly violent, killing one crew-member, and kidnapping 36 people to hold onshore for ransom.

Indonesia accounted for more than 50% of piracy attacks last year while piracy off West Africa made up 19% of attacks worldwide last year.

Nigerian pirates moved even into waters of Gabon, Ivory Coast and Togo where they were responsible for at least five of the seven reported vessel hijackings. They were also “particularly violent” killing one crew member and kidnapping 36 people to hold on shore for ransom, according to the IMB.

Malaysian waters witnessed the hijacking of two product tankers with 27 crew members taken hostage and in addition to the theft of ships’ property and cargo.

Caution is the parent of safety. And, security is the other of the twin.

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