Annual death toll from piracy rises

  • 7 February 2005

Pirates preying on shipping were more violent than ever in 2004 and murdered a total of 30 crew members, compared with 21 in 2003, the ICC International Maritime Bureau reported in its annual piracy report for 2004.

The number of attacks reported worldwide through the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre in Kuala Lumpur was 325, down from the 445 recorded in 2003.

Indonesian waters continue to be the scene of the highest number of attacks, with 93 incidents reported in 2004. While this is down from 121 in 2003, it still accounts for more than one quarter of piratical attacks reported worldwide.

The report said hijackings of tugs and barges and the kidnapping of crew members were on the rise, especially in Indonesian waters, in the Northern Malacca Straits, and off North Sumatra. While in the past these attacks had been thought to be the work of Aceh rebels, there were now increasing signs that crime syndicates are using fishing boats for such attacks.

Attacks in Nigerian waters were down from 39 in 2003 to 28. However, the report said that offshore Nigeria still had the third highest number of incidents and was regarded as the most dangerous area in Africa for piracy and armed robbery at sea.

The IMB is part of ICC Commercial Crime Services, the division of the International Chamber of Commerce dedicated to fighting all types of commercial crime.