Fall in Somali pirate attacks
by Gill Montia
Story link: Fall in Somali pirate attacks
Pirate attacks fell sharply in the first half of 2012, led by a drop in Somali piracy, the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) reports.
All in all, 177 incidents were made known to the IMB’s piracy centre compared to 266 for the corresponding period of 2011.
Twenty vessels were hijacked worldwide and 334 crew members taken hostage in total.
In addition, there were a further 80 vessels boarded, 25 vessels fired upon and 52 subject to attempted attacks. At least four crew members were killed.
According to the IMB, the decrease in Somali piracy is marked, with activity dropping from 163 in the first six months of 2011 to 69 in the same period this year.
Somali pirates hijacked 13 vessels, compared with 21 a year earlier, and the decline is attributed to the pre-emptive and disruptive counter piracy tactics employed by international navies plus the deployment of best management practices and, in particular, the increased use of privately contracted armed security personnel.
However, Somali piracy continues to remain a serious threat because of the vast area affected and as of 30th June 2012, Somali pirates were still holding 11 vessels and 218 crew, 44 of whom were being held ashore in unknown locations and conditions.
IMB figures also show an increase in attacks in the Gulf of Guinea where 32 incidents, including five hijackings, were reported in H1 2012, versus 25 in H1 2011.
In Nigeria alone there were 17 reports, compared to six in the first half of 2011, and high levels of violence have been used against crew members with guns reported in at least 20 of the 32 incidents in the Gulf of Guinea.