Ahead of the upcoming Seatrade Middle East Maritime exhibition and conference, the International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre confirms that pirate attacks off the Somali coast have declined by more than 54%, leading to a softening of insurance premiums for the global shipping community but raising controversy surrounding the use of onboard private armed security contractors.
According to IMB September 2012 figures, global attacks on commercial and private vessels stood at 225 incidents year-to-date with 70 recorded attacks off the Somali coast, with 11 ships seized and 188 hostages currently being held for ransom. In the first six months of 2012 IMB recorded a 54% drop in pirate activity against 2011, with 177 incidents reported against 266 in the same period last year, supported by additional data released by the United States Navy.
While moves to thwart piracy activity in the Gulf of Aden appear to be paying off, the IMB says that Somali piracy in the Indian Ocean gives serious ongoing cause for concern, as well as noting a shift in geographical focus from East to West Africa. Increased attacks are also being reported in the Gulf Of Guinea, Nigeria and Togo, as well as further afield in Indonesian waters.
“The world’s busiest trading routes are still suffering from the ongoing threat of piracy, which costs global trade up to US$12 billion annually. Aggressive patrolling by international combined naval forces and the increase – over the last 12 months – in the use of private armed security contractors onboard vessels, are acting as an effective deterrent in many cases, but the regulatory oversight of these emerging number of private firms is currently a ‘grey area’,” said Chris Hayman, Chairman of Seatrade.
Article courtesy of AME Info.