Piracy rises yet more ships escape Somali pirates: IMB
London (Platts)--18Oct2011/604 am EDT/1004 GMT
Piracy has risen to record levels in the first nine months of the year
with Somali pirates behind 56% of the 352 attacks, the International Maritime
Bureau said Tuesday.
"Figures for piracy and armed robbery at sea in the past nine months are
higher than we have ever recorded in the same period of any past year," said
Pottengal Mukundan, Director of IMB. The IMB's Piracy Reporting Center has
monitored piracy worldwide since 1991.
More ships, however, are escaping Somali pirates with hijack attempts
"being thwarted by strengthened anti-piracy measures," the report said.
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Despite the Somali pirates initiating more attacks, which amounted to
199 through September, up from 126 last year, and going further out in the
Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, they "are managing to hijack fewer vessels,"
the report said.
"Only 24 vessels were hijacked this year compared with 35 for the same
period in 2010," the IMB said.
"Policing and interventions by international naval forces," as well as
"careful consideration of the crews' retreat to a 'citadel' and other onboard
security measures" were credited for the reduction in hijackings off Somalia.
A surge in violent piracy however has been observed on the West African
coast off Benin, "with 19 attacks leading to eight tanker hijackings this
year, up from zero incidents in 2010," the report said.
"A pattern has emerged where armed pirates board and hijack the ship --
sometimes injuring crew -- then force the Masters to sail to an unknown
location where they steal the ship's properties and cargo, and let the vessel
free," the report said.
Benin has begun joint naval patrols with neighboring Nigeria and that
cooperation "is a positive step. However, the real deterrent will be the
capture and punishment of these criminals under law," the report said.
Piracy and armed robberies in Asian waters, including the Indian
subcontinent, have fallen to 87, from 106 in the first three quarters of
last year, the report said.
--Elza Turner, email@example.com