Fatal attacks on the increase, ICC report shows

  • 25 July 2004

ICC's International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has reported the highest number of piracy-related killings for a decade in its latest piracy report.

The report shows an alarming rise in the number of crew killed in piracy attacks in the first half of 2004, despite an overall decrease in the number of attacks worldwide. The report reveals that 30 crewmembers were killed in attacks – twice as many as for the same period of 2003. According to the Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships report, the total number of reported piracy attacks worldwide in the first six months of 2004 decreased to182 compared with 234 during the corresponding period of 2003. The report notes 130 instances of ships being boarded and a total of eight ships hijacked. It also shows worrying signs of opportunist thieves becoming increasingly organized.

“The intelligence gathered by IMB is precise and contemporaneous,” said IMB Director Captain Pottengal Mukundan. “To prevent further loss of life or injury to seamen we highly recommend that law enforcement agencies increase their presence in the most perilous regions.” The IMB report brings good news for Bangladesh and India where there has been a marked reduction in the number of attacks. Indonesia recorded the highest number of attacks, accounting for over one quarter of the world total with 50 incidents. It was also the region where the greatest number of violent attacks took place with many pirates armed with guns and knives. IMB warns there are no signs that the number of attacks will drop unless Indonesia takes serious steps to address the problem.

The Malacca Straits showed an increase to 20 incidents from 15 reported in the same period of 2003. Nigeria follows in the table with13 attacks. Attacks in the Singapore Straits show an unfortunate revival with seven incidents reported so far in 2004.The IMB report identifies 24 vulnerable ports and anchorages. The Indonesian ports of Jakarta (Tg Priok) and Balikpapan, Lagos port in Nigeria and Chennai port in India continued to record highest numbers of attacks on ships.

Shipowners and land-based authorities are encouraged to consult IMB’s weekly online piracy report. The IMB’s Annual Report on piracy not only lists the facts but also analyzes developments in piracy and identifies piracy-prone areas so that crew can take preventive action. Copies of the report, priced at