Report: Piracy Dropping Worldwide

 

June 2014

 

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Piracy on the world’s seas continues to diminish, according to a new report by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB).

 

 In its report, the IMB, which is part of the International Chamber of Commerce, said piracy incidents during the first quarter of 2014 were at the lowest level since 2007. Despite the gains being made against the practice, the IMB warned that piracy still poses a threat.

 

According to the report, there were 49 documented incidents of piracy during the first quarter of 2014, making it the lowest number in seven years. In 2007, 41 incidents were reported.

 

During the first three months of 2014, two vessels were hijacked, 37 were boarded, five were fired upon and five reported attempted attacks. Out of those, 46 crew members were taken hostage and two were kidnapped from their vessel.

 

The waters off Somalia, which are notorious for pirate activity, are still of concern. According to the report, five incidents were reported in that region during the first quarter of the year, the same number as 2013.

 

IMB Director Pottengal Mukundan said those incidents show mariners should remain on guard for pirates, despite the recent gains.

 

“Although the number of attacks continues to remain low, the threat of Somali piracy is still clearly evident,” Mukundan said. “There can therefore be no room for complacency as it will take only one successful Somali hijacking for the business model to return. Masters are, therefore, advised to maintain vigilance and adhere to the latest best management practices and recommendations.”

 

As evidence of the need for such vigilance, the report cited the case of a tanker that was fired upon off the coast of Salalah, Oman, from a skiff launched by a larger mother vessel. The attack was repelled and international navies intercepted the mother ship, which was an Indian vessel that had been hijacked itself days before the incident. Eleven Indian mariners were freed and five suspected pirates were captured.

 

According to the report, 12 incidents were recorded off the West African coast, including the hijacking of two vessels with 39 crew members, with two crew members being taken hostage. Six of those incidents were linked to Nigeria, including the hijacking of a supply vessel, which was used to hunt for other potential targets.

 

The IMB noted that Angola saw its first reported hijacking during the first quarter of 2014, demonstrating the range of Nigerian piracy if left unchecked.

 

Indonesia, meanwhile, ranked as the country with the highest number of attacks with 18, compared to 25 during the same period last year. Vessels were boarded in every incident.

 

“While these are predominately low-level thefts from vessels, seven crew members were taken hostage in five incidents, while in four incidents it was reported that the robbers were armed with guns,” the report read.

 

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