The latest statistics indicate that global piracy increased slightly in the first quarter of 2006. Reported attacks have risen approximately 8% when compared with the same period in 2005. The actual number of reported piracy attacks in the first three months of 2006 was 61, a modest increase over the 56 attacks noted in the same period of the previous year.
“We are pleased to see that the overall level of piracy is not rising dramatically. We attribute this plateau in attacks to increased law enforcement activity in high risk areas, awareness, and anti-piracy watches by shipmasters in risk prone areas,” said IMB Director Captain Pottengal Mukundan.
Despite the welcome news that the volume of marine piracy is levelling, IMB warns that international shipping is still threatened by piracy in numerous regions around the globe. Somali and Nigerian waters remain particularly dangerous. Captain Mukundan commented: “IMB is calling on law enforcement agencies in Nigeria to increase their efforts to combat piracy. Somalia has no national law enforcement infrastructure and we call upon the Coalition Naval forces in the region to continue their efforts to pursue pirate vessels and detain the pirates. Recent actions by US Naval and other units have been most helpful in bringing some of these pirates to justice.”
Information gathered by IMB indicates that the potential for violence remains great, with 63 crewmembers taken hostage in the first quarter of 2006. This figure is more than double the number for the same period in 2005. Furthermore, to the end of March 2006, 13 crewmembers have been kidnapped for ransom.
“In addition to gathering statistics, the report also indicates the efficiency of law enforcement in combating piracy. Our findings indicate that actions taken by law enforcement agencies, notably in the Malacca Straits and India, have made a major contribution to keeping these figures down. Co-operation between Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore is now better than ever before and has played a key role,” added Captain Mukundan.
Authorities in Indonesia have demonstrated an increase in their efforts to defeat piracy by way of Operation Gurita, which has provided a show of force in known hotspots via several intelligence-led actions. These efforts have yielded positive results, with numerous gangs of pirates being arrested.
There were no incidents reported in either Malacca Straits or India in the first quarter of 2006.
IMB is a division of the International Chamber of Commerce specifically dedicated to fighting all types of maritime crime and malpractice.