Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Incidents of Global Maritime Piracy Increase 22%

Maritime piracy worldwide has increased dramatically this year, with Somalian pirates intensifying their attacks and Benin emerging as a new flash-point, according to the Kuala Lumpur-based International Maritime Bureau (IMB).

There have been a record 352 at-sea threats in the first nine months of this year, up 22% from a year ago, with Somalian pirates accounting for 199 incidents, a 58% increase from last year, as they expand their operating area into the Red Sea. Pirates also demonstrated unprecedented boldness by hijacking a chemical tanker at anchor in an Omani port in August.

COMMENT: Although at-sea attempted attacks were up, Somalian pirates managed to hijack only 24 vessels, down from 35 in the same period last year, thanks to international naval policing and on-board security measures. Globally, the the IMB said pirates took 625 hostages, killed eight people and injured 41 in the nine-month period. It said the coast off the west African nation of Benin has seen 19 attacks, with eight tankers hijacked. There were no such incidents reported in 2010.

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