Decline in piracy attacks slows down, says IMB

  • 24 July 2006

The number of reported piracy attacks world-wide in the first six months of 2006 remained at 127 compared with the same figure during the corresponding period in 2005, according to the ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB).

In its Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships report, the IMB lists a total of 127 attacks on ships. Ships were boarded in 74 instances and 11 ships were hijacked. There were 156 crew taken hostage, 13 crew were kidnapped and six crew killed.

Commenting on the 2006 piracy figures Capt Pottengal Mukundan, Director of the IMB said “The decline in attacks over the past two years would appear to have slowed down. New high risk areas have emerged. It is vital that the governments in these areas give priority to this crime and resource law enforcements agencies to tackle it. In those areas, such as the Malacca Straits, where the decline continues, we call upon law enforcement agencies to maintain the initiatives which have been successful. If the pressure lets up, the attacks will rise again.”

Although the number of attacks overall remain the same, in some key hot spots the situation has deteriorated. Eight attacks have been reported off the eastern coast of Somalia where pirates armed with guns and grenades have attacked ships and fired upon them. The eastern and north-eastern coasts of Somalia continue to be high-risk areas for hijackings. IMB warns that ships not making scheduled calls to ports in these areas should stay at least 200 miles or as far away as practical from the eastern coast of Somalia.

Indonesia recorded 33 incidents, the highest number this half year followed by Bangladesh with 22 attacks. Violence and intimidation of crew continues to be a hallmark of these attacks, with many of the pirates armed with guns and knives. Malacca Straits has shown an improvement with three attacks as compared to eight for the same period in 2005. However, since the end of June 2006, three further incidents within a two day period have been reported in the Malacca Straits.

The Report identifies ports and anchorages, more prone to attacks. Chittagong at 22 attacks was the highest recorded.

The IMB Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) is the only centre of its kind in the world, to which Ship’s Masters can report pirate attacks at any time, wherever they are in the world. The IMB urges shipmasters to report all attacks to the PRC so that more effective action can taken to bring the attacks down.

IMB is a division of the International Chamber of Commerce specifically dedicated to fighting all types of maritime crime and malpractice.