Piracy attacks off Somalia and the Horn of Africa have doubled this year compared to 2008 – or have they? At least one piracy expert is dubious about the widely quoted figures and fears that they may mislead shipping companies into relying on naval forces currently in the region rather than taking appropriate action to protect their own vessels.
In 2008 there were 111 reported attacks and 32 actual hijackings. This year in first six months alone, the figures are 250 attacks and 32 actual ship-takings. Those are worrying numbers, but do they actually mean anything and how should they affect our decision making?