Thursday, January 14, 2010

Pirate Attacks On Shipping At Six Year High

IMB Reports Over 400 Attacks in 2009
Shipping News Feature

WORLDWIDE – The ICC International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Centre’s (IMB PRC) annual report on piracy has revealed that their were 406 incidents of piracy and armed robbery on shipping throughout 2009. This is the highest number since 2003.

According to the IMB PRC’s figures, some 153 vessels were boarded, 49 vessels were hijacked, 84 attempted attacks and 120 vessels fired upon – compared to 46 ships fired upon in 2008.

In addition, a total of 1052 crew were taken hostage. Sixty eight crew were injured in the various incidents and eight crew killed. The report states that “the level of violence towards the crew has increased along with the number of crew injuries.”

More than half of the attacks took place in the waters around Somalia, with 217 reported incidents and 47 vessels hijacked.

However, the report does point out that the though the number of attacks in this area has increased substantially over 2008, the proportion of successful hijackings is down.

The report states that this “…can be directly attributed to the increased presence and coordination of the international navies along with heightened awareness and robust action by the Masters in transiting these waters,” with the IMB’s Director, Captain Pottengal Mukundan, adding that: “The international navies play a critical role in the prevention of piracy in Somalia and it is vital that they remain.”

The IMB also concludes that the threat of piracy around the globe generally seems to be increasing, and encourages all shipping lines, crews and masters to remain vigilant to the threat and to take all possible preventative measures to protect their vessels.

They also strongly encourage all shipmasters and owners to report all incidents of actual and attempted piracy and armed robbery to the IMB PRC.

“This is the first step in the response chain and vital in ensuring that adequate resources are allocated by governments to deal with the problem,” they conclude.