The latest report issued by the Piracy Reporting Centre, PRC, of the International Maritime Bureau,IMB, records 196 incidents worldwide in the first six months of 2010. A total of 31 vessels were hijacked, 48 fired upon, 70 boarded and 47 vessels reported attempted attacks. Guns were used in 100 incidents and knives in 35 incidents. During this period one crew was killed, 597 crew were taken hostage and 16 injured. A total of 240 incidents were reported in the corresponding period in 2009 to the 24 hour manned PRC.
The decline in the number of attacks in 2010 is due to the reduction in incidents in the Gulf of Aden with 33 incidents in 2010 compared to 86 in 2009. Attacks in the Somali basin and the wider Indian Ocean have however increased from 44 in 2009 to 51 in 2010.
IMB Director, Captain Pottengal Mukundan says: “The actions of the navies in the Gulf of Aden have been instrumental in bringing down the attacks there. The Indian Ocean poses a different challenge. Nevertheless naval initiatives to target and disrupt pirate action groups in the Indian Ocean should be applauded and sustained. It is vital that the naval presence continues. The other important factor in the attacks being brought down is the actions taken by vessels themselves and the adoption of the Best Management Practices put out by industry bodies and the naval co-ordination groups.”
In 2010, Somali pirates have successfully hijacked 11 vessels in the Gulf of Aden and 16 in the wider Indian Ocean region, with a total of 544 crew taken hostage.
Mukundan says: “Somali pirates have also continued to demonstrate their increased capability by hijacking vessels beyond longitude 69° east. An attempted attack was also reported as far south as 12° south. The commencement of the SW monsoon has impacted upon their area of operations resulting in increased attacks taking place in the southern part of the Red Sea – an area not directly affected by the SW monsoons.”
There has been a marked decrease in the number of reported incidents in Nigerian waters. Only six incidents have been reported in this area. IMB is aware of at least ten other incidents which have not been reported by masters and owners to the PRC. “It is vital that these attacks are reported to the PRC and then presented to the Nigerian authorities so that they can respond appropriately” says the Bureau.
Attacks in the South China Sea have more than doubled during this period compared to last year. Fifteen vessels reported incidents in which one vessel was hijacked, two vessels fired upon, nine boarded and three attempted attacks as compared to seven attacks in 2009 of which one was hijacked and six boarded. The IMB congratulates the Indonesian Navy for taking positive action in this area which as resulted in the cessation of the attacks. The IMB continues to monitor the situation.
There has also been an increase in the number of incidents reported in Indonesian waters with 16 attacks reported in 2010 compared to three in the corresponding period in 2009. Although most incidents are low level attacks carried out on vessels either at anchor or while carrying out cargo operations at berth, the risk to the seafarer remains high.
Chittagong port in Bangladesh has also seen a slight increase in the number of reports. A total of eight successful incidents were reported in this period. In a similar period last year five incidents were reported of which four were successful.
Callao anchorage in Peru has shown a decrease in incidents from five in 2010 compared to three in 2009. The incidents continue to be low level.
The IMB strongly urges all Shipmasters and Owners, to report all incidents of actual and attempted piracy and armed robbery to the IMB PRC This is the first step in the response chain and vital in ensuring that adequate resources are allocated by governments to deal with the problem. A set of transparent statistics from an independent, non-political, international organisation such as the IMB PRC acts as an effective catalyst to achieve this goal.