Somali piracy has fallen to its lowest levels since 2006, focusing attention on violent piracy and armed robbery off the coast of West Africa,Q2 2013 picture the International Chamber Commerce (ICC) International Maritime Bureau (IMB)’s global piracy report revealed today.
Worldwide, the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) recorded 138 piracy incidents in the first six months of 2013, compared with 177 incidents for the corresponding period in 2012. Seven hijackings have been recorded this year compared with 20 in the first half of 2012. The number of sailors taken hostage also fell dramatically; down to 127 this year from 334 in the first six months of 2012.
In the Gulf of Guinea, in addition to a rise in piracy and armed robbery – 31 incidents so far this year, including four hijackings – IMB reports a surge in kidnappings at sea and a wider range of ship types being targeted. This is a new cause for concern in a region already known for attacks against vessels in the oil industry and theft of gas oil from tankers.
“There has been a worrying trend in the kidnapping of crew from vessels well outside the territorial limits of coastal states in the Gulf of Guinea”, said Pottengal Mukundan, Director of IMB, which has monitored world piracy since 1991. “In April 2013, nine crew members were kidnapped from two container vessels, one of which was 170 nautical miles from the coast. Pirates have used motherships, some of which were smaller off-shore supply vessels hijacked by pirates to conduct the attacks. There continues to be significant under-reporting of attacks – a phenomenon highlighted by the IMB year on year. This prevents meaningful response by the authorities and endangers other vessels sailing into the area unaware of the precise nature of the threat”.
Armed pirates in the Gulf of Guinea took 56 sailors hostage and were responsible for all 30 crew kidnappings reported so far in 2013. One person was reported killed and at least another five injured. Attacks off Nigeria accounted for 22 of the region’s 31 incidents and 28 of the crew kidnappings.
Mr Mukundan applauded the signing of the Code of Conduct Concerning the Repression of Piracy, Armed Robbery Against Ships, and Illicit Maritime Activity in West and Central Africa in June 2013 by the heads of the West and Central African countries.
“This should be translated soon into action on the water”, he said. “If these attacks are left unchecked, they will become more frequent, bolder and more violent. Cooperation and capacity building among the coastal states in this region is the way forward and urgently needed to make these waters safe for seafarers and vessels”.
See the whole article here: http://www.icc-ccs.org/news/865-imb-piracy-report-highlights-violence-in-west-africa
Source: ICC- Commercial Crime Services / IMB